Colorado man set to hear sentence in murder of pregnant wife, daughters

Lester Mason
November 19, 2018

Chris Watts pleaded guilty on November 6 to three counts of murder for the deaths of his 15-weeks-pregnant wife, 34, and their daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

He received two additional concurrent life sentences for two other murder charges for different theories in Bella and Celeste's deaths, and 48 years for the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. The 33-year-old also pleaded guilty to unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

A Colorado man is set to be sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to murdering his pregnant wife and their two young daughters and dumping their bodies on an oil work site. For those three charges, he will serve 12 years each consecutively.

A friend asked police to check on Shanann Watts on August 13 after not being able to reach her and growing concerned that the expectant mother had missed a doctor's appointment. An autopsy found a cut in Bella's mouth, he said, suggesting that "she fought back for her life" and bit her tongue before she died.

Prosecutors have since called his account "a flat-out lie".

A defense attorney on Monday said Chris Watts is "devastated" and "is sincerely sorry for all of this". He kept his head down for much of the hearing, speaking only once to confirm that he did not want to make a statement before Judge Marcelo Kopcow imposed his sentence. He rarely looked up during the proceeding - not even when his mother turned around to face him and tearfully said, "We have loved you from the beginning and we still love you now".

Meanwhile, Christopher Watts appeared on local television pleading with the public for his family's safe return.

That portion of the hearing is dedicated to testimony by those who were adversely impacted by Watts' actions.

Shanann Watts, 34, and her two daughters ages 3 and 4 were reported missing.

Authorities aren't sure why he killed his family. The bodies of Bella and Celeste were found in commercial oil tanks at a company where Watts had worked. The death penalty was thrown out when he agreed to a plea deal a few weeks ago.

He called his sister his "best friend" and said his brother-in-law "took away my privilege of being an uncle to the most precious girls".

According to an unsealed Weld County arrest affidavit, investigators say they discovered Watts was "actively involved" in an affair with a co-worker.

"He lied about everything", Kessinger later told the Denver Post.

"Prison is too good for you", Frank Rzucek said. "I barely knew him".

Friends of Shanann Watts and neighbors in the subdivision where the family lived lined up inside the courthouse Monday morning.

"When I read the news, I found out he was still married and his wife was 15 weeks pregnant", Kessinger told the newspaper.

Prosecutors say Shanann Watts' family consented to the plea deal allowing Christopher Watts to avoid the death penalty.

She peppered him with questions via phone calls and text, she said, and he changed his story about the divorce, showed little emotion about his family's disappearance, and tried to change the subject.

Watts' mother spoke for the first time last week, saying she doesn't believe he could kill the young girls.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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