Karl Karlsen was found guilty of murdering both his son and his wife in two separate incidents 17 years apart. Karlsen’s first wife Christina died in a fire in their family home in California in 1991 and her death was ruled accidental, according to ABC. Karlsen then moved to his home state of New York with the three children, where he remarried.
In November 2008, Karlsen’s son Levi was killed when the truck he was working on at the Karlsen farm in New York fell on him and crushed him. That death was also ruled an accident. However, a few years later, Karlsen’s second wife Cindy became suspicious and worked with law enforcement to record conversations with her husband about Levi’s death.
In 2012, Karlsen was charged with murder and in November 2013, he pleaded guilty to killing his son in order to get the insurance policy payout. At that point, the investigation into Christina’s death was reopened and Karlsen was charged with her murder in 2014 and extradited to California.
Where is Karl Karlsen today?
Karlsen Was Found Guilty in Both Cases & Is Serving 2 Separate Sentences Consecutively
In 2013, Karlsen pleaded guilty to killing Levi to collect his insurance money and was sentenced in Seneca County, New York to 15-years-to-life for second-degree murder. According to jail records, the earliest release date is November 23, 2027, and he’s eligible for parole in July of that year.
However, after the investigation into Christina’s death was reopened, Karlsen was charged with her murder and extradited to Calaveras County, California. In February 2020, Karlsen was convicted for the death of his wife by arson, and the following month, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Appeals have been filed in both cases.
Karlsen has since been transferred back to New York state where he is currently being held at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. Once he serves out his sentence in that state, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office told Heavy that Karlsen will be “transported back to California to serve his sentence” there.
His Daughters Spoke to ABC About the Difficulty of Dealing With the Family Tragedy
Karlsen’s two daughters opened up to ABC about how difficult the whole process has been. Erin DeRoche was six and Kati Reynolds was four years old when their mother died. DeRoche told ABC that she and Levi always suspected their father was responsible for their mother’s death. She said: “Levi and I told our father that we knew that he had murdered our mother. Levi and I would talk about [the day of the fire] a lot about what he remembered, about what I remembered and about how things just didn’t add up.”
That’s why, DeRoche said, as soon as she heard that Levi had died, she knew her father was responsible for his death as well. When he pleaded guilty in 2013, Reynolds said: “It was devastating for me to have my dad admit [to Levi’s murder]. It wasn’t just the loss of my brother, with that one statement, it was the loss of my father, too.”
Now that Karlsen is serving two sentences for the murders of his wife and son, DeRoche and Reynolds have different perspectives. Reynolds told ABC: “I struggle personally because … he committed [these crimes] and also [I have] the lost connection of having a dad … and part of me still wants a relationship. I don’t know what will happen long term. We’re not talking right now, but you know, I don’t know long term what my plan is.”
DeRoche says for her, it’s a bit easier: “He’s able to manipulate people very easy. That’s who he’s always been. So for me, I saw the monster more than the man.”