Man Crushes Son Under Truck to Death for Insurance, May Have Killed Former Wife for Money

Posted: November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

An upstate New York man admitted Wednesday that he crushed his son under a truck in a life insurance scheme that netted him $700,000, authorities said.

Karl Karlsen’s plea of guilty to second-degree murder came as a surprise a day before his trial was set to open, Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch said.

Karlsen, 53, was charged with murder and insurance fraud in the death of his son Levi, 23. Prosecutors said Karlsen killed his son in 2008 by shifting a truck off its jacks as the younger man worked underneath it in a barn on the family’s property in Romulus, 40 miles southwest of Syracuse.

The sentence Karlsen faces on Dec. 16 wasn’t released. Porsch said more details about the plea will be released Thursday.

Karlsen’s lawyer, Lawrence Kasperek, didn’t initially return a call for comment.

Authorities said Levi Karlsen’s handwritten will left everything to his father and was notarized at a bank on the morning of Nov. 20, 2008, days before his death.

After he died, his father told sheriff’s deputies he had returned from a funeral and found the truck had fallen off a jack and trapped his son.

Karlsen was arrested last year after investigators learned about the life insurance policy.

They said Karlsen gave differing accounts of his son’s death during almost 10 hours of interrogation, saying at one point it was an accident that happened after Levi asked him to move the jacked-up truck and at another saying he found him dead before going to the funeral. He said in each case he didn’t try to get help.

His second wife, Cindy Karlsen, testified during a pretrial hearing that she began to suspect in the summer of 2011 that her husband had killed his son.


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