Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Dad pleads guilty in killing of pregnant wife, 2 daughters

Dad pleads guilty in killing of pregnant wife, 2 daughters

The father accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters has pleaded guilty for the first time after reaching a plea deal to avoid the death penalty.

Christopher Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to all nine counts against him - including five counts of first-degree murder - in the deaths of his wife, Shanann Watts, and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, whose bodies were found on the property of an oil and gas company where Christopher Watts worked in August, according to a press release from Colorado's 19th Judicial District.

Watts, a former oil and gas worker, was charged in August with killing his pregnant 34-year-old wife and their daughters their home in Frederick, a community in the oil and gas fields north of Denver.

The victims' family agreed to those terms, the district attorney's office added.

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.

"I can only say that I hope there is a sense of closure (for family members of the deceased)", Rourke told reporters.

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'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.

"That, to me, was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed with this case", Rourke said.

A memorial outside the home of Shanann Watts in Colorado.

However, in a second interview with police, Watts told police he looked at the baby monitor screen and saw Shanann strangling their daughter Celeste and that he saw their older daughter, Bella, blue and "sprawled" out on her bed, according to the affidavit.

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

The pleas were in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table however the counts still carry a life sentence.

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His wife was buried there and the girls were submerged in crude oil, with their remains found by police who used a drone to search areas identified by Watts.

Rourke called those claims a "flat out lie" and said he did not believe Christopher Watts would give authorities a full, accurate and truthful statement.

"I was not willing to entertain any further concessions above and beyond removing the death penalty", he said.

His sentencing is scheduled for November 19.

"The spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, now shined correctly on him", Rourke said. Rourke said the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

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