Man Who Killed Son for Insurance Money Is Convicted of Doing the Same to Wife

The man's wife was killed in a fire in 1991 and his son was crushed by a car in 2008

In this Dec. 12, 2012 file photo, members of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Department assist Karl Karlsen as he arrives for his court appearance at the Seneca County Courthouse in Waterloo, N.Y
Karl Karlsen . Photo: Stephen D. Cannerelli/The Post-Standard/AP

A man who previously admitted to killing his son for insurance money has now been convicted in the 1991 death of his wife for the same motive .

On Monday, 60-year-old Karl Karlsen was found guilty of first-degree murder by arson in Calaveras County Superior Court in California, according to the Union Democrat.

His wife Christina died in a house fire in 1991, which the verdict determined was intentionally set by Karlsen in order to collect a $200,000 life insurance policy, the Union Democrat reported. He took out the policy on his wife 19 days prior to her death.

According to the outlet, Karlsen will be sentenced on Mar. 17, and his defense attorney stated that he will appeal the conviction.

Karlsen’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but in a statement, Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara M. Yook said, “We are extremely pleased with the jury’s decision in this case. The jury worked very hard and we are grateful for their time, attention and verdict.”

Christina Alexander-Karlsen and Levi Karlsen
Christina Alexander-Karlsen. Facebook
Christina Alexander-Karlsen and Levi Karlsen
Christina Alexander-Karlsen and Levi Karlsen. Facebook

Karlsen used the payout from his late wife’s insurance policy at the time to buy a home in upstate New York, according to

In November 2013, Karlsen pleaded guilty to killing his 23-year-old son Levi in 2008 to collect a $707,210 life insurance policy, according to He had registered the policy 17 days before Levi was found crushed under a car.

Levi’s death was originally believed to be accidental, but prosecutors claimed that Karlsen purposely rigged a 5,000-lbs. vehicle to fall on his son who was working beneath it, according to

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Christina Alexander-Karlsen and Levi Karlsen
Levi Karlsen. Facebook

Per the Union Democrat, family members connected to the trial shared their reaction immediately following this week’s verdict, with the daughter of Karlsen and Christina saying she’s “just happy.”

“It’s a long battle. It should have taken effect in 1991,” said Christina’s sister, while Karlsen’s brother said: “I’m just glad it’s over. It’s done, finally. And I hope justice is served.”

Karlsen entered the New York State Department of Corrections system in December 2013 following the verdict in Levi’s death, for which his earliest release date is November 2027, according to inmate records.

A spokesperson from the New York Corrections office told the Union Democrat that Karlsen will serve out his prior sentencing in New York before being transported to California to serve the new sentencing.

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