A Colorado man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of murdering his pregnant wife and two small daughters and dumping their bodies in an oil field, in an agreement that will spare him the death penalty.
Watts pleaded guilty to nine counts in the case, including unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased body, the Weld County district attorney's office said in a statement Tuesday. She was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy who 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.
Chris Watts and his attorneys have reached a plea deal in the highly-watched murder case out of Frederick.
Watts reported his wife and their girls, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, missing August 13 from their home in Frederick, a town about 30 miles north of Denver. The two girls were submerged in oil tanks, and Shanann Watts was in a shallow grave nearby.
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Investigators discovered Watts was "actively involved in an affair with a co-worker", which he had denied during an earlier interview.
Shanann Watts, 34, and her two daughters ages 3 and 4 were reported missing. "I do not want to be in a position of making the choice to take his, '" Rourke said.
Taking a stab at Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who had repeatedly opposed the execution of another death row inmate Nathan Dunlap, Rourke said: 'We explained to them the extraordinary delays that now exist in the state of Colorado as a result of in part the actions of our current governor. "I was not willing to accept a concession above and beyond removing the death penalty".
Watts' family had previously said they were keeping an open mind about what had happened the night his family went missing in light of his initial version of events.
'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.
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Under Colorado law, a first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
"No one wins today", he said.
"The spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly.is now shined correctly on him", Rourke said. "I never wanted to stand up and have a press conference like this".
Image: Shanann and Christopher Watts.
According to People, the source said, Watts was furious at having to enter the guilty plea.
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At first he drove to Daytona's Holly Hill area to dump her corpse but headed back to find a shovel before heading to the church. He called the suspect a "soulless individual", and probably one of the "top three sociopaths" he ever crossed paths with.