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Karl Karlsen pleads guilty to murder
Romulus, N.Y. - The guilty plea was supposed to come Thursday, not Wednesday, but judge Dennis Bender said to do it immediately, according to Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch. The plea came from Karl Karlsen, the Seneca County man charged with killing his son, five years earlier.
Thursday afternoon, Porsch told reporters that he had received a call the day before from the sheriffs office. Karlsen had met with his attorney for about an hour at the jail. Karlsen was accused of killing his son, Levi in 2008, and making it look like an accident in an effort to collect $707,000 from an insurance policy.
I was very surprised yesterday, explained Porsch. We were prepared for a trial.
Karlsen faced charges of murder and insurance fraud in relation to Levi Karlsens death. As part of the plea agreement, the insurance fraud charge was dropped and Judge Dennis Bender told both sides in court that Karlsen would likely serve the minimum sentence for murder, 15 years-to-life, according to Porsch.
He is in poor health, we believe it will be a life sentence, said Porsch. We believe he is going to serve a life sentence. He is going to die in prison, said Porsch.
More than a dozen members of Karlsens family attended a Thursday morning press conference held at the sheriffs office.
Thats all I ever wanted was for him to actually own up to what he had done, and we got that yesterday, said Erin DeRoche, one of Karlsens children.
Karlsen remains in the Seneca County Jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 16th.
Karl's decision to pled guilty and accept responsibility was his own, wrote Lawrence Kasperek, Karlsens attorney in an email to 13WHAM News.
History with his children
A report compiled by New York State Police investigators on Karlsen shows numerous incidents of abuse of both his son, Levi and daughter, Erin.
She told Seneca County Sheriffs deputies that her father had a terrible temper and slammed her against a wall on one occasion, according to a statement taken September 11th 2012.
Levi Karlsen said his father beat him repeatedly in the head, arm and ribs, according to a statement written in February of 2000.
Statements from family said that Karlsen beat his son with pipes, cattle prods, and shovels.
Death of his former wife
Karlsen has long been suspected by family and local authorities as the person who started a fire that resulted in the death of Karlsens former wife, Christina.
The fire happened in the couples Calaveras County, California home in 1991. Karlsen and the children escaped the fire, and he collected $200,000 in insurance money, according to authorities.
Karlsen has not been charged with relation to the death of his former wife.
Theyve essentially compiled Californias case for them, said DeRoche. Hopefully, very soon, there will be an indictment and we can get some closure so that my mothers side of the family will finally be able to move on.
I can tell you we are actively investigating the case, said Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook.