WATERLOO – A man who killed his son and then collected a $700,000 insurance payout that he had purchased on the 23-year-old less than three weeks earlier was sentenced Monday to 15 years to life in prison.
Karl Karlsen, 53, pleaded guilty in November to a charge of second-degree murder after admitting to shifting a truck off a jack and onto his son, Levi Karlsen, while he was working on it in 2008.
Karlsen was the sole beneficiary of Levi’s insurance policy, purchased 17 days earlier.
The father was charged last year after investigators, at the request of suspicious relatives, began re-examining Levi Karlsen’s death on the family’s Finger Lakes property in Romulus.
The death had been ruled an accident but Karlsen eventually admitted to jumping into the cab of the truck, causing it to fall, and leaving his son to die underneath while he attended an event with his wife.
At the suggestion of Seneca County officials, investigators in Calaveras County, Calif., are reviewing the 1991 death of Karlsen’s former wife, Christina Karlsen, in a fire that occurred three weeks after Karlsen purchased a $200,000 life insurance policy on her.
The case is still under investigation, the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.
“You belong in prison and I suggest you belong there until you die,” Seneca County Court Judge Dennis Bender told Karlsen in sentencing him on Monday, according to the Post-Standard of Syracuse.
Cassie Hohn, Levi’s ex-wife and the mother of his two daughters, told the judge she was overjoyed by Karl Karlsen’s plea.
“The knowledge that his release will be later rather than sooner has provided me, my children, and I know for sure, several members of the Karlsen family, a much more secure sleep at night than we have had in a long time,” said Hohn, whose children were 3 and 5 when their father died.
Karlsen smirked when Colette Bousson, the sister of his first wife spoke, accusing him of leaving her sister in a burning house.
Karlsen said nothing when given the chance to speak.
“No remorse, no ‘I’m sorry,’ no apologies, nothing,” said District Attorney Barry Porsch, who described Karlsen as a sociopath who would likely die in state prison.
“A parent would do anything to save a child’s life if they have the option and he did the opposite,” Porsch said.