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Karl Karlsen murdered son Levi Karlsen and is accused of killing first wife, Christina — Evil Lives Here spotlights the case

Christina Karlsen, Levi Karlsen, Karl Karlsen photo
Karl Karlsen (C) murdered his son Levi Karlsen (R) and is accused of killing his first wife, Christina Karlsen (L). Pic Credit: Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and Family Photos

Karl Karlsen murdered his 23-year-old son Levi Karlsen and allegedly killed his first wife, Christina Karlsen, for insurance money. The latest episode of Evil Lives Here on Investigation Discovery features the case.

On November 20, 2008, Levi was working on a truck in the family barn in Varick, New York, when it suddenly slipped off its jack and landed on top of him, crushing him to death.

Levi’s death was ruled an accident.

However, a few years later the Seneca County Sheriff’s Department received a tip about the large insurance policy Karl collected just 17 days after his son’s death and in 2012 they began an investigation .

Karl admitted to police that he knocked the truck off of its jack while his son was working on it and left him for dead.

He pled guilty to second-degree murder and fraud-related charges.

A Seneca County Courthouse judge sentenced Karl to 15 years to life in prison.

Karl’s conviction led authorities in California to re-investigate the 1991 death of his 30-year-old first wife who died in a suspicious house fire.

On January 1, 1991, a fire erupted in the hall of their home while Christina was in the bathroom.

The fire blocked her exit, and the only way she could escape was through the bathroom window, which was also blocked.

Police said Karl covered the bathroom window with plywood just days earlier.

Karl and their three children managed to escape without injury, but Christina died on the bathroom floor from smoke inhalation.

Her death was ruled an accident, but their children believe it was murder.

Weeks before Christina’s death, Karl purchased a $200,000 life insurance policy in her name that listed him as the beneficiary.

He later moved to New York with his children, and did not show up for his final interview with fire investigators.

Further investigation into the case prompted authorities to charge Karl with first-degree murder. 

He is currently standing trial.

Evil Lives Here — Is This The Night I Die, airs at 9:00 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

Angelica N. Sumter is a freelance journalist who has covered true crime for more than 10 years. In addition to Monsters and Critics, her work... read more
Angelica N. Sumter

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