Chris Watts to be sentenced for killing pregnant wife, young daughters

Erika Holt
November 20, 2018

His hands were shackled at his waist and Watts wore an orange jumpsuit.

"We loved you like a son".

The only time Watts spoke during the proceeding was when Kopcow asked him if he wished to deliver a statement.

His daughters were smothered, with prosecutor Michael Rourke saying there were signs Bella "fought for her life", but Celeste had no visible injuries. "Imagine the horror in Bella's mind as her father snuffed out her life".

"They were loving and caring people" who "had all their lives to live", the grieving father and grandfather said.

A defense attorney on Monday said Chris Watts is "devastated" and "is sincerely sorry for all of this".

Watts strangled Shannan, 34, before smothering daughters Bella, three, and Celeste, four, in August after what he claimed was an "emotional" conversation with his late wife about the state of their marriage at their home.

Watts was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole - weeks after Shanann's family decided that they didn't want to pursue the death penalty. "In my heart, I believe she is somewhere, and I hope she is safe", he told Fox 31 as police searched the house behind him.

After they were discovered, Watts told police that it was Shanann who strangled the girls after he told her he was leaving her.

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Sandra Rzucek, Shanann's mother, said they loved Chris Watts "like a son". "Your life is between you and God now, and I pray that he has mercy on you".

A memorial outside the home of Shanann Watts in Colorado.

Monday's sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Prosecutors have said Shanann Watts' family consented to the plea deal. "We just thought we were doing the right thing by being a good friend", added her husband, Nick Thayer.

Investigators found Shanann's body in a shallow grave on the property of an oil and gas company which Watts worked for before he was arrested. His wife Shanann grew up in Southern Pines. He also pleaded guilty on November 6 to two counts of killing a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

For days after he killed them, Watts pretended not to know what had happened to them and made shifty appearances on national television.

Friends of Mrs Watts and neighbours lined up inside the courthouse on Monday morning to see him being sentenced, while more watched on a video stream in an overflow room.

An unsealed arrest warrant revealed Watts had been having an affair with a co-worker.

It's not clear if that was Nichol Kessinger, 30, who told The Denver Post she met him while working for the environmental department of a petroleum contractor.

"He lied about everything", Kessinger later told the Denver Post.

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