Man Admits to Killing His Three Children, ‘If I can’t have them neither can you.’

Jason E. Karels, a 36-year-old man from Illinois, has admitted to the murder of his three young children, pleading guilty but mentally ill. The Lake County prosecution revealed that Karels left a chilling message for his estranged wife at the scene of the crime, stating, “If I can’t have them neither can you.”

The children’s mother, who had shared custody with Karels, alerted the authorities on June 13, 2022. The local police in the Chicago suburb of Round Lake Beach were dispatched to conduct a welfare check at the family’s residence on Camden Lane. Upon arrival, first responders discovered the lifeless bodies of Bryant Karels, 5, Cassidy Karels, 3, and Gideon Karels, 2, inside the home.

Following the grim discovery, law enforcement officers located Karels driving on Interstate 57 and 115 Street. What ensued was a high-speed chase involving multiple police departments across several highways, lasting approximately 17 minutes. The pursuit concluded when Karels crashed his vehicle in a heavily forested area off Interstate 80.

As officers extracted Karels from the wreckage, he made self-incriminating statements, accepting responsibility for the deaths of his children at the Round Lake Beach residence. According to Police Chief Gilbert Rivera, Karels also confessed to multiple unsuccessful suicide attempts following the murders. These confessions were captured on body cameras worn by the officers at the scene.

The prosecution has stated that Karels will receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 16, 2024. In Illinois, a plea of guilty but mentally ill is equivalent to a standard guilty plea, but it allows defendants to receive improved access to mental health treatment while incarcerated.

The local police expressed their condolences to the victims’ family and friends, as well as the broader community affected by the tragic event. They expressed hope that the legal outcome would provide some closure to the family and loved ones, acknowledging that nothing could bring back the innocent lives lost.