DA calls Karl Karlsen a 'sociopath' after he admits killing his son

Seneca Co. Sheriff Jack Steinberg speaks at the press conference on the.plea deal for Karl Karlsen.

Seneca County law enforcement officials held a news conference to discuss the guilty plea of Karl Karlsen, who Wednesday admitted he killed his own son in an insurance scam.

Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch spoke to the media Thursday morning, saying Karlsen requested to make the plea right before his trial was to get underway Wednesday. In exchange for his guilty plea to second degree murder, Porsch says his office agreed to drop an insurance fraud charge and offered the minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

23-year-old Levi Karlsen was found crushed under a truck he'd been working on at the family's Romulus farm in 2008. Karl Karlsen told police he had come home and found his son dead, but investigators later learned about a life insurance policy taken out days before the death. They arrested the father and accused him of knocking the truck off of a jack and leaving his son to die.

Porsch called Karlsen "a sociopath who showed no emotion" when he admitted to the murder of his son on Wednesday.

Levi Karlsen's sister Erin DeRoche was at the news conference and spoke on behalf of her family. She called the confession "a huge relief", and said all the family ever wanted was for their father to own up to what he did.

After the charges in Seneca County late last year, police in Calaveras County, California reopened an investigation into a 1991 fire that killed Karlsen's wife, Christina. Karlsen has said the fire was accidental.

Karlsen's second wife, Cindy, testified in September about the suspicions that led her to cooperate with investigators and secretly record a 2012 conversation that Karlsen's lawyer said was privileged. Cindy Karlsen says she feared for her safety after learning her husband had a $1.2 million life insurance policy on her.

Officials say sentencing is scheduled for December 16 in Seneca County Court.