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Attorney representing Nathan Carman’s aunts explains their choice to sue

KEENE, N.H. – An attorney representing Nathan Carman’s aunts says filing legal action against their nephew was not a decision they took lightly.

“This has been a very difficult and painful process for the family. This was not an easy decision to come to, but the family believes very strongly that this was the right thing to do and it is what their father and their sister would want them to do,” said Daniel Small, a partner at Holland & Knight law firm.

On Monday, Carman’s three aunts filed a civil lawsuit in New Hampshire pursuing a “slayer action” against Carman. They believe he intentionally killed their father, 87-year-old real estate developer John Chakalos and might have been responsible for their sister’s disappearance at sea after a mother-son fishing trip.

Small said, “It’s an action to prevent a killer from profiting by his crime.”

The family says Carman, 22, wanted to collect the multimillion-dollar inheritance from John Chakalos, who was found fatally shot at his Connecticut home in 2013. Carman was a suspect, but no one, including Carman, was ever arrested.

The suit asks the court to declare that the murderer was Carman.

“If you had a criminal conviction already obviously that would be simpler because someone else has done the work for us, but there’s no requirement of a criminal conviction,” explained Small.

He said, “It’s a separate action and a separate standard and it’s looking for a different result. It’s not looking to put someone in jail. That’s up to the criminal authorities. It’s simply looking to prevent someone of profiting by their crime.”

If no action is taken, Carman will inherit the portion of Chakalos’s estate designated for Nathan Carman’s mother, Linda.

Linda disappeared after going on a fishing trip with Nathan back in September 2016. Nathan claims the boat sank, but he took a life raft and was later rescued at sea. Linda is presumed dead.

Small said, “there are, in this case, too many questions without answers and too many answers without justice and that’s what we’re seeking: justice.”

He made it clear Carman’s aunts are not doing this for the money. They have pledged that if they receive any money from this case individually they will put it toward the investigation or they will donate it to charity.

Nathan Carman has denied any involvement in his grandfather's death. He also says he didn't sabotage the boat.