Colorado man pleads guilty to killing pregnant wife, daughters as part of plea deal

Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 06, 2018

(CNN) — A Colorado man who killed his pregnant wife and his two young daughters pleaded guilty Tuesday as part of a plea deal that allows him to avoid the death penalty, the office of Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said.

Chris Watts pleaded guilty to the nine charges he faced, including first-degree murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy, for the August slayings of his wife, Shanann, who was found in a shallow grave, his two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, whose remains were found in commercial oil tanks.

Watts will be sentenced November 19 and faces life in prison. Rourke told reporters the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

Rourke said he flew to North Carolina a few weeks ago to discuss the possible agreement with relatives of Shannan Watts and they signed off on removing the death penalty option.

Three family members were in court Tuesday but chose not to speak with the media.

In his initial interview with police months ago, Watts said that on the morning of August 13 he had told his wife he wanted to separate and then left for work.

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 told police he went into a rage and strangled his wife, according to the affidavit. He told them he took the bodies and dumped them in three locations, according to the filing.

Investigators never believed his story, Rourke said.

Autopsy results have not been released.