Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Colorado father pleads guilty allowing him to avoid the death penalty

Christopher Watts Arraignment Hearing in Murder Of Wife And Children Christopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse
Ellis Copeland | 07 November, 2018, 20:33

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

Yesterday, Shanann's family sat in the front row of the court as they listened to Watts enter his pleas.

He could be heard sniffing and trembled each time he said "guilty" in response to each charge read against him by the judge. Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy she planned to name Nico.

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

Rourke said he had detailed conversations with Shanann Watts' family after Christopher Watts' attorney approached him about a possible deal.

On Tuesday, the Weld County, Colo., district attorney's office said, Watts pleaded guilty to killing Shannan Watts, 34, and their daughters Bella, 3, and Celeste, 4, in August. The three bodies were found on property near Roggen owned by Anadarko Petroleum Co., where Watts worked as an operator until August 15. The bodies were found the week Watts was arrested.

Rourke spoke at a news conference following the hearing in Weld County District Court, flanked by law enforcement from the agencies involved in the case, including the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Frederick Police Department.

He had previously claimed that after telling his wife he was having an affair, she had killed one of their children and was trying to kill another when he attacked her. But he said he strangled her in "a rage" when he discovered she had strangled their two daughters after he sought a separation.

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Rourke said they had established a partial motive but would not say what that was.

"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.

The family was supportive about not seeking the death penalty, he said.

"That, to me, was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed with this case", Mr Rourke said. "I know that that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four lovely lives (including Shanann's unborn baby)". The spotlight shines squarely on him, ' he said.

Rourke said Tuesday that investigators never believed that Watts was being entirely truthful.

When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened".

Image: Shanann and Christopher Watts.

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