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Man sentenced for depraved killing of son

Waterloo, N.Y. --- A Seneca County man who admitted to killing his own son in 2008 was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison Monday afternoon. 

Karl Karlsen, 53, accepted a plea deal last month on the day testimony at his trial was supposed to begin. He then admitted in open court that he pushed a pickup truck off of a jack and onto his son Levi, 23, who was underneath it doing repairs.

It happened in the garage of Karlsen's Town of Varrick home. Karlsen reportedly left to attend a family funeral immediately after the incident and returned hours later to report finding his son dead and trapped under the truck.

Karlsen later collected $700,000 from a life insurance policy that was taken out days before his son's death.

In 1991 Karlsen's first wife Christina, Levi's mother, died in a house fire when the family was living in California. Karlsen, Levi, and two daughters escaped that fire but family members remained suspicious of its cause.

Karlsen collected $200,000 from a life insurance policy following his wife's death and then moved his children back to Seneca County, N.Y. where he grew up and many family members lived.

Following Karlsen's arrest last year California authorities re-opened the investigation into his wife's death.

In court on Monday dozens of family members looked on as Karlsen smirked, smiled, and chuckled during portions of the sentencing. Speaking in open court were Colette Bousson, the sister of his first wife, and Cassie Hohn, the mother of two children fathered by Levi.

"Obviously we we're disappointed that the plea was only fifteen years but my family and I will be out here every year when he is up for parole," said Bousson after court.  "We will stand in front of that judge and plead the cause because if Karl gets out, when Karl is broke, people die.

"I did see his reaction I'm glad I wasn't able to see it when I was reading," added Bousson.  "He was smirking and laughing and it was almost like what he's done is a big joke and he's still not being held accountable for his own actions."

"We're not losing sight of the fact that California is still wondering and there's people there that deserve answers and need answered and need closure," said Karlsen's brother, Mike.  "He showed no remorse today and that bothers me.  The smirks, the grins it's like it was a game and it wasn't a game it's people's lives.  Not only his own son but our lives."

In court Cassie Hohn read aloud portions of letters written by her two daughters, now 8 and 10.  

"Dear Judge, I don't want Karl getting out of jail because I don't want him to ruin other lives like he did with my Daddy," one of the letters read.

"Dear whoever is in the room, Karl you are the worst grandfather," another letter read before ending with, "P.S. I hope you pay the price."

"There are those here that think you are guilty of much more than you pled guilty to," the judge told Karlsen before handing down the final sentence.  "You belong in prison and I suggest that you belong there until you die."

Karlsen's lawyer Larry Kasperek said his client deserves credit for standing up in court and taking responsibility.  He added that he was going to file a notice of appeal Monday afternoon.

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Washington Times