Man convicted of killing son and former wife for life insurance money

In this episode of Crime Watch Daily Updates: Some people have bad luck following them wherever they go. It certainly seemed that way for Karl Karlsen.

On January 1, 1991, Karl’s 30-year-old wife, Christina Karlsen, died in a house fire in their California home. Karl and their three kids managed to escape the flames and moved to upstate New York with the $200,000 he received from cashing out on his late wife’s life insurance policy.

Once in New York, he married a woman named Cindy. But tragedy followed Karl. His beloved horses died in a barn fire, and in 2008, his son Levi was crushed while working on a truck. Karl’s car even mysteriously blew up one day.

Was that all pure bad luck?

Just before Levi died, he and Karl signed a hefty life insurance that named Karl the sole beneficiary of Levi’s plan. When he died, Karl received $700,000.

Second wife Cindy soon learned Karl took out a life insurance policy worth over a million dollars on her, and she realized these deaths were hardly coincidental. Cindy contacted local law enforcement and they provided her with a wire to record any damning statements.

While at lunch one day, Karl confessed to pushing the truck on Levi, which Cindy caught on tape. Investigators in California reopened the case into his first wife’s death and found it wasn’t an accident.

Karl was eventually arrested in connection with Levi’s death and in 2013, pleaded guilty to killing the 23-year-old. He was sentenced to 15 years to life.

In 2020, Karl was convicted of killing Christina Karlsen and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Now, let’s look back at the case that proved one man’s series of seemingly tragic moments was hardly coincidental.