Colorado Dad Chris Watts Pleads Guilty to Murdering His Wife and Daughters

Chris Watts

Chris Watts

A Colorado man has avoided the death penalty for killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters in a case with North Carolina connections.

Christopher Watts, 33, admitted in Weld County District Court to strangling his wife, Shanann, 34, and the couple's two daughters, Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4, in August at the family's home in Frederick, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Denver.

Initially, Watts told police that he killed his wife in a rage; that she had strangled the daughters after he had acknowledged an affair and his intention to separate.

Watts had faced the possibility of the death penalty if convicted, but under his plea agreement prosecutors pledged to not seek the death penalty, Steve Wrenn, chief deputy district attorney for Weld County, told the judge.

Watts appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to all nine counts against him, including five counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

Hours after the arrest, his family's remains were discovered on property owned by an oil and gas company where he worked.

It's alleged he drove their bodies to an oil site, and police said the girls' bodies were found in an oil tank while his wife's body was found in a shallow grave.

"That, to me, was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed with this case", Mr Rourke said. The District Attorney's Office said the family might make a statement at a later date, but they are asking for privacy at this time.

Watts could now reportedly face three consecutive life terms at a sentencing hearing, scheduled for 19 November.

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After his pregnant wife and two daughters disappeared, Watts stood on his porch in Colorado and told reporters how much he missed them.

"Sandra said it best when she said: 'He made that choice to take their lives". The bodies were found the week Watts was arrested.

'I do not want to be in the position of choosing to take his'.

During the plea hearing on Tuesday, he said the falsehood that Shannan killed the children was corrected.

'I don't know how I could have sat in Sandy's kitchen and asked her to commit the next 25 years of her life to the criminal justice system without any assurance that the sentence would ever actually be imposed, ' he said.

Watts' family had all flown out to Colorado in order to be in court today to support him. "The spotlight shines directly where it belongs: On him".

Investigators never believed Watts' stories, Rourke said.

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

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