Chris Watts: Dad admits to killing family to avoid death penalty

Arturo Kim
November 8, 2018

Watts is accused of killing his wife, Shanann, and his two young daughters, Bella and Celeste.

Appearing in court in Greeley, Colorado, on Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to all nine charges as the judge read them out.

Watts initially told police he strangled his wife in a rage because, after the couple had argued, she killed their two girls.

Nevertheless, Mrs Watts had written upbeat social media posts about her daughters, pregnancy and love for her husband not long before she died.

Taking a stab at Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who had repeatedly opposed the execution of another death row inmate Nathan Dunlap, Rourke said: 'We explained to them the extraordinary delays that now exist in the state of Colorado as a result of in part the actions of our current governor.

"I can only say that I hope there is a sense of closure (for family members of the deceased)", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said, according to CNN.

"I know that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four handsome lives".

Rourke said they may decide to testify when Christopher Watts is formally sentenced on November 19. He said the family was strongly against pursuing the death penalty, especially after they discussed the extensive delays in the process in Colorado.

Watts said in court he is satisfied with his defense representation and is knowingly accepting this plead deal.

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Watts' family had previously said they were keeping an open mind about what had happened the night his family went missing in light of his initial version of events.

Mr Rourke said the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

"Sandra said it best when she said: 'He made that choice to take their lives".

Watts, 33, was taken into custody on August 15, days after 34-year-old Shanann and the two girls were reported missing - a day after he had given an emotional TV interview pleading for them to come home.

The children's bodies were found in oil tanks by their mother's shallow grave.

Image: Shanann and Christopher Watts. The three bodies were found on property near Roggen owned by Anadarko Petroleum Co., where Watts worked as an operator until August 15.

'The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely and incorrectly - a flat out lie - has been corrected.

As part of the deal, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the first four counts - murder.

Rourke said he was not willing to dismiss any charges in exchange for the promise of guilty pleas.

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