In a case that has attracted worldwide attention, a Vermont federal judge ordered Nathan Carman held in jail ahead of his federal murder trial.
The judge found Carman, facing a charge of murder on the high seas, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole, is a flight risk.
The ruling means that Carman will remain locked up until his case goes to trial.
No trial date is set, but it’s expected it could take up to two years before a jury is selected.
Nathan Carman is facing federal charges that he murdered his mother, Linda Carman, by intentionally sinking his small boat off the coast of Rhode Island during a fishing trip in 2016.
The feds allege Linda Carman’s death was part of an elaborate scheme to inherit millions of dollars from his family’s estate.
Prosecutors believe Nathan Carman first murdered his wealthy grandfather in 2013, but Carman is not charged with his grandfather’s death.
In a Vermont courtroom, Nathan Carman’s urged a federal judge to keep Nathan locked up, writing in a statement that they are afraid of him.
“We are very concerned that Nathan has nothing to lose if he is allowed out of jail and he will seek retribution against the family, " Elaine Chakalos and Charlene Gallagher wrote in a statement.
Former Federal Prosecutor Zach Hafer said the letter was likely effective.
“For family of victims to express concerns for their own safety, that’s powerful evidence,” Hafer said.
But Nathan Carman’s father tried to convince the judge that Nathan Carman should be released.
Earle Carman said Nathan is a responsible man who loved his family and who wants to clear his name.
Earle Carman said Nathan’s aunts always had a problem with him.
“His grandfather doted on him from the beginning,” Carman wrote. ‘This created a resentment by his aunts, couple with the fact he had Aspbergers which seemed to make them jealous of the situation.”
Zach Hafer said this was probably not a good place to air the family’s dirty laundry.
“Painting dear family members of the departed as the aggressors or the wrong doers here, probably wasn’t persuasive to the court,” Hafer said.
In finding Nathan Carman a flight risk, it’s likely the federal judge put much weight on the mandatory penalty if Carman is convicted: life no parole.
“Faced with mandatory life with no possibility of parole for premeditated murder, and another murder that isn’t charged but will be part of the case, that’s a high hurdle for a defense team to overcome,” Hafer said.
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