Man pleads guilty to killing pregnant wife and young daughters

Pauline Gross
November 7, 2018

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.

"With the agreement of the victims' family, DA (Michael) Rourke eliminated the death penalty from consideration in exchange for pleading guilty to all nine counts listed above", the office said. "I know that that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four attractive lives (including Shanann's unborn baby)". Watts faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Watts is represented by the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, which does not comment on pending cases.

He also pleaded guilty to unlawful termination of a pregnancy, as Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant with a son her family said would have been named Nico, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

Christopher Watts reached the plea deal Tuesday afternoon, CBS Denver reports.

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Watts pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife and daughters and allegations that he killed the girls while in a position of trust.

"They were very strongly in favor of a resolution in this case short of the death penalty", Rourke said. He added that law enforcement never believed Watts' defense that Shanann Watts had strangled her daughters to death, sending him into a rage that led him to strangle his wife to death.

The girls' bodies were found in oil barrels and Shanann's body was found in a shallow grave nearby.

He told officers he loaded his wife and children's bodies into the back seat of his truck and drove them to an oil and natural gas company he worked for.

"The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann - falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie - has been corrected", Rourke said. The spotlight shines squarely on him, ' he said.

Asked if a motive has been determined in the case, Rourke said that investigators believe they have a "partial motive" and Rourke said he would have more to say about that following the sentencing, which is scheduled for November 19. Rourke said the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

Other reports by GizPress

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