NY Man Accused of Killing His Son: Never-Before-Heard Tapes

Karl Karlsen's estranged wife wore a wire to confront him about his son's death.
8:07 | 10/08/13

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Transcript for NY Man Accused of Killing His Son: Never-Before-Heard Tapes
Tonight we begin with a fascinating case about a man who seeps to attract disaster. At the end of the day he is a million dollars ritcher. Is this someone who cannot escape tragedy or is he the master of a ruthless insurance scheme. His second wife said she discovered he has taken out a $1.2 million insurance policy on her life. Here is the chilling story. You're seeing for the very first time the video interrogation of a father accused of a terrible crime. People are going to think what they want. And it's like there is no, no way. Later this month the jury will begin to hear the story you're hearing tonight. Is he the unluckiest guy in the world? Or is he the collector who kept getting ritcher as family members disappeared? It all began on an unseasonably warm november day. 911, what's the location of your emergency? I need an ambulance. Cindy and her husband arrived at their home to find carl's 23-year-old son, levi, trapped under their truck in this barn. Oh my god. I don't know how long he's been in there. We've been gone since noon. Levi volunteered to work on the transmission. The truck slipped off of the jacks that were holding it up. Okay. We're going to start cpr, okay? Karl, they want to start cpr. Carl's only son was dead. The officers at the scene didn't see anything out of the ordinary. They saw what appeared to be two grieving parents and what appeared to be an accident. Of course there were questions. It turned out carl had recently taken out a $700,000 life insurance policy on levi and levi signed a handwritten will, leaving everything to his father. But at the time, authorities say they didn't know about the life insurance policy or the will. It was all ruled a tragic accident. A once in a lifetime tragedy that had actually happened to carl carlson before. Back in 1991, carl's first wife, christina, levi's mother also died in a tragic accident. A house fire. Karl and christina were living here in california with their three young children. She was the consummate mom. Her goal in life was to be a mother. Carlson told police that christina was in the bathroom when some kerosene that had spilled suddenly erupted in flames. When you get a call like that you're in shock. Her sister tried to move forward but there were two things that gave her pause. He had taken out a $200,000 life insurance policy on his wife. That doesn't sound like a lot by today's standards but then it was a lot of money. And the windows to the bathroom had been boarded up with 17 nails. When I found it was boarded, I was in shock. He told investigators that the pain wne was proeken. For the good of the children, they put the best face on things as karl quickly moved across the country to new york state and remarried. I had to set aside all of my suspicions because I was absolutely going to make sure those kids knew their mother. But that all changed the day that colette found out that levi was dead. I didn't know what he had to gain but I kne he did it. Another member of the family contacted the new york police. Started checking out the long strain of what he said were suspicious incidents. It's extremely unlikely that someone would have that many tragic events a few weeks after obtaining high insurance policies. Now the investigation was on but how to get evidence. I contacted cindy in march of 2012 and told her that I had reopened the investigation into the death of her stepson and her first words were thank god you called. Karlson's second wife was finally having suspicions of her own according to police. One big reason? Police said she found out karl had taken out a $1.2 million life insurance policy on he she agreed to wear a wire, pretending to karl that she was considering getting back together with him and now you're about to hear part of that conversation for the first time. Can you just tell me how things went that day? Karlson throws suspicious at cindy. Part of me feels like I'm walking into a booby trap. But he starts telling her more. What I remember, I jacked it up. I asked you if you pushed the truck and you said yes. I didn't push the truck, i said. I said I had nothing to do with it. But I said I took advantage of the situation once it happened. With what they see as incriminating statements, the police bring karlson in for questioning. The reason they brought you in today was really over -- my son. Levi. At first he denies it. To sit here and say that i killed my son? There is no way. But as the hours go by, nine and a half hours in all, he switches stories. First saying he had found his son's body earlier but had not said anything. I found him dead. You found the truck rolled over on him? He repeatedly complains of feeling sick and needing pain medication. I have frequent panic attacks. Finally he tells police he had been there in the room when the truck fell. I had to get inside to move blankets for the truck. The fell over. But according to the prosecution, he did it all for the insurance money. Karlson has pled not guilty. His lawyers say he respectfully disagrees with the court's recent decision to allow the jury to hear the recorded conversation karl karlson had with his wife and the video taped interrogation. But colette is angry that they did not investigate more vigorously 20 years ago. We all raised our concerns that we thought the fire was very suspicious. The district attorney said her office is now actively investigating the death as a homicide and cannot comment on an active investigation. But now even with karl in jail awaiting trial, colette and her family say they are filled with regret that they didn't do more to help christina leave the man who they think was responsible for her death. You live with that. Did we make the wrong decision? We have to live with that? I'm lindsay davis in new york.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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