Man, 60, who murdered his wife and son 17 years in succession, compares their death to losing a horse
An upstate man from New York who was convicted of killing his first wife in a house fire and crushing his son with a truck for insurance money has compared death to other cases of “bad luck” in his life, including losing a horse and having a barn burned down.
Karl Karlsen, 60, was found guilty of first-degree arson murder earlier this month for firing his family’s home in California in 1991, with his then wife and the mother of their three children, Christina Karlsen, were killed.
He faces a life sentence without the possibility of conditional release if he is convicted next month of arsoning his wife motivated by a $ 200,000 life insurance policy, which Karlsen had taken out just 19 days before the fire in Christina’s name.
Karlsen, who is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for the murder of his 23-year-old son, Levi, in 2008 for an interview with Dateline from NBC, which will be broadcast on Friday at 9 p.m.
Convicted murderer Karl Karlsen, 60, sits down for an interview with NBC’s Dateline to discuss the death of his first wife, Christina, and his son 17 years apart
Karlsen’s son, Levi Karlsen, was 23 years old when he was crushed to death while repairing a truck on his father’s grounds.
The death of Christina and her son Levi Karlsen has enriched Karl with more than $ 900,000 in life insurance
In the two-hour episode entitled “The House on The Hill”, correspondent Dateline, correspondent Andrea Canning, asks Karlsen about the death of his wife and son who are 17 years apart, making him the only beneficiary of benefits for life insurance policies totaling more than $ 900,000.
“Bad luck they died?” Canning asks the convicted murderer sitting opposite her.
“What would you call it?” Karlsen shoots back. “I have had many other things in my life that … I have let horses die, I have had a barn fire.”
When the reporter presses Karlsen to find himself a “victim of bad luck,” he gives a vague response and says, “If I told you everything, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me.”
The Dateline episode also includes new interviews with Karlsen’s second wife, Cindy, who helped the police bring him to justice by wearing a thread, Christine’s sister Colette Bousson, and Karl’s brother, Mike Karlsen.
Karl’s children had long suspected that Karlsen was responsible for the death of their mother.
On New Year’s Day in 1991, Christina, then 30 years old, died in the bathroom of the couple’s house in Murphys, California, after spillage of kerosene and a defective electric light had ignited a fire.
Karlsen, Christina and their three children lived in Murphys, California, when Karl set fire to the house after entering the bathroom window, leading to the death of his wife
Karl later claimed that he could not save Christina (left and right) after saving all three of their children from the burning house
A fireman who responded to the scene described for Dateline, a harrowing scene, with smoke from the destroyed house. After a few minutes, his partner announced that he had found Christina’s body.
When Levi Karlsen died in what was initially considered an accident in 2008 and left a wife and two daughters behind, his father cashed in his $ 700,000 life insurance policy
Karlsen was credited with rescuing Levi and the couple’s two daughters, Erin and Katie, by removing them from the burning house.
He told the researchers at the time that he was unable to go back for his wife.
It was later determined that Christina could not escape through the bathroom window because Karlsen had boarded it from outside a few days earlier because it was supposedly broken.
Investigators cited Christina’s official cause of death as an accident.
Karlsen left California two weeks later with his three children and used the $ 200,000 life insurance money to buy a home in New York.
In an interview with ABC News from 2013, the couple’s daughter, Erin Deroche, who was only six at the time, remembered to hear her mother scream when the fire burned.
“I was six years old then. I didn’t understand that my mother died behind that wall, “Deroche said.
As she grew older, Deroche said she was able to cope with what was happening and began to believe that her father was not doing enough to save her mother.
“He made no effort to save her. He just stood there, “Deroche said.
Karl’s second wife, Cindy (right), helped the police bring him to justice when she agreed to wear a thread in 2012 and provoked a partial confession of his son’s death
“That’s not how people are supposed to act when someone they love is locked up and literally burns for them.”
Deroche said she and her brother Levi were about 11 or 12 when they secretly discussed the possibility that their father was somehow involved in the death of their mother.
Levi, a married father of two young daughters, died in a clear accident on November 20, 2008 when he was only 23.
An old Chevy pickup fell on his chest, crushing him and killing him while working on repairs owned by his father in the state of New York.
Karl, then married to his second wife, found his son in the garage and told Cindy to call 911. The family had returned as a joke from the funeral of another family member.
Levi’s death, like his mothers 17 years before, was initially ruled as an accident.
The police began investigating the matter when a family member informed them that Karlsen had demanded the payment of his son’s $ 707,000 life.
In early February, a Californian jury convicted Karlsen of first-degree murder by arson during the murder of his first wife in 1991
In 2012, Cindy Karlsen was alarmed after hearing that her husband had taken out a $ 1.2 million life insurance policy with her.
Afraid that she would be next to death, she agreed to cooperate with the police by secretly recording her conversation with Karl, in which he admitted that he had removed the front tires from his truck and had it in a single jack lifted before Levi applied to do the repairs.
After a 10-hour interrogation, Karlsen finally told the police that he had been there when the truck fell on his son. He claimed it was an accident, but admitted that he had left his son to die.
He later pleaded guilty in return for 15 years to life in prison.
After Karlsen was charged with the murder of his son, the California police reopened the investigation into the death of his first wife and finally brought formal charges against him.