Colorado man pleads guilty to murdering pregnant wife and two daughters

Chris Watts has reached a plea deal in his murder case

Chris Watts has reached a plea deal in his murder case

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.

In exchange for Chris Watts' guilty plea, the death penalty will not be considered, the Weld County District Attorney's office said.

As the judge read each charge one by one, Watts pleaded "guilty", his voice sometimes cracking.

Shanann Watts' parents, Sandra and Frank Rzucek, as well as her brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., also attended the hearing and subsequent press conference.

The district attorney said lawyers for Chris Watts reached out several weeks ago about making a deal.

Shanann Watts, Bella and Celeste were first reported missing on August 13 by one of Shanann Watts' friends.

Within days, Watts was arrested and the bodies of his wife and children were recovered.




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. Investigators later learned Watts had been involved in an affair with a coworker, the affidavit states.

Watts killed wife Shanann, 34, along with their daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three, on either August 12 or 13. 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.

Rourke said at a press conference that the plea deal was made with the support of Shanann Watts' family, and after he explained what he called the "extraordinary delays that now exist" in Colorado in putting prisoners to death.

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

He said the family was strongly against pursuing the death penalty, especially after they discussed the extensive delays in the process in Colorado.

"What I can tell you most affirmatively today by what happened in the courtroom, is the spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie, has been corrected", said Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke. But he said: "I know that will never be fully realized, because the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four attractive lives". If it goes as planned, Rourke said he will not fight the release of the autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her daughters. "I never wanted to stand up and have a press conference like this". "The spotlight shines directly where it belongs - on him", Rourke said.

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