“I took advantage of the opportunity (of a death.)”
A confession to an ex-wife about murdering his son, it appears he is talking in code of some sort.
“I didn’t push the truck, I said,” Karl Karlsen continued. His second wife, Cindy was wearing a wire and capturing his words during “Operation Abigail” in cooperation with law enforcement concerning the death of his son from a former marriage, Levi Karlsen. Cindy feared she would be his next victim, “the next insurance policy.”
“No, I said I had nothing to do with it, but I said I took advantage of the situation once it happened.”
Police listened to incriminating statements captured on Cindy’s audio recordings, and they brought Karlsen in for questioning. During a 9.5-hour interview, investigators said Karlsen denied killing his son, Levi, 75 times, and that he’s given several explanations for Levi’s death, including that he accidentally knocked the pickup truck off the jack and onto his son, crushing him to death.
Truth is, a new insurance policy for a son in his 20’s, just 17 days prior his death, seemed fishy.
While Karl Karlsen did admit he caused the truck to fall on Levi during the police interrogation, investigators said Karlsen maintained it was an accident, leaving for a funeral after he viewed his son under the truck and found him “four hours later.”
“He did admit that he caused the truck to fall on his son. He did admit that he left his son on the floor dying, but he never admitted that it was a planned, deliberate act,” said Seneca County Lt. Investigator John Cleere.
Levi’s death was initially ruled an accident in 2008. Police said Karlsen collected a $700,000 life insurance payout after the incident and that Levi had signed a handwritten will before his death, leaving everything to his father. But at the time, authorities said they didn’t know about the life insurance policy or the will.
Another Karl Karlsen money trail now leads to a new charge of murder by arson, New Year’s Day 1991. Karlsen was motivated by insurance money and 18 years separated two deaths. On the trail from California returning to upstate New York, a pattern of conduct was established. See video from ABC news
Karlsen was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years to life for Levi’s death. Twenty three years later, after his first wife died, California law enforcement decided to pay attention to “a track record of mishaps.”
When California investigators looked at the records, there was an August 1986 car fire, a November 2002 barn-horse fire, and then, they wondered, what happened to Karlsen’s first wife?
Christina, Levi’s mother, perished in a house fire on New Year’s Day 1991. The only possible escape was a boarded up broken window. As the house burned, Karlsen and his three unknowing young children stood outside and watched. A week after the fire he gathered the three children and left California, heading back to New York to be near his family.
As of August 31,2014, under California law, murder for financial gain qualifies Karlsen for the death penalty if convicted.
Someone who knows how to “work the system and make everything look like an accident” seems to be a common theme more often than not.
How do these monsters slip by virtually undetected? Is it lack of experience on the part of law enforcement? Is it charm or the cunning nature of the killer? Is it a family held hostage by fear and unanswered questions? I think all of the above!
When someone in the family “grows a conscience,” or decides they may be the next victim, the tables are turned.
Once the judicial process is on the horizon, only then can they breathe a bit easier.
During such a vulnerable time, going through a trial and forced to face the convicted, an experienced advocate with skill and a sense of perspective can help through the process by assisting in customizing a victim impact statement which is used during the sentencing phase of the trial.
Karl Karlsen deserves to be put away forever. May their victim impact statement assist them in doing so!
For those in need of a professional Victim Impact Statement, please feel free to contact me through this website. For more information see my informational page on Victim Impact Statement Assistance.