Chris Watts sentenced to life for murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters

Jaimie-lee Prince
Nov 20, 2018
04:10 P.M.

Chris Watts received a life sentence in prison for the murder of his pregnant wife and two daughters.


Chris appeared before Judge Marcelo Kopcow on Monday with his head bowed. He listened to the words of his wife's family, his mother, and words from the judge.

The reason Chris strangled wife Shanann, 34, and smothered daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, is still unknown. Chris didn't have much to say throughout his trial according to CNN.

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Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke expressed his sentiments:

"I don't think he will ever tell us. I don't think he will give an honest assessment of why he did what he did, how he did what he did."

But everyone else spoke up about their heartbreak. Shannan Watts' father, Frank Rzucek Sr., told Chris:

"I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them. You have to live with this vision every day of your life, and I hope you see that every day of your life."


His wife and Shannan's mother also spoke to the killer:

"I didn't want death for you because that's not my right. Your life is between you and God, and I pray he has mercy for you."

A family representative read a statement:

"This should never have happened. This is not condonable. This is something that we will never get over."

Chris will never leave the prison cell he is put in as he received no possibility of parole. Kopcow sentenced him to five life sentences as well as 48 years for unlawful termination of a pregnancy plus 36 years for crimes related to disposing of the bodies.


On August 13, 2018, the 33-year-old killed his daughters and wife who was 15 weeks pregnant. Bella put up some resistance to her father, while Celeste showed no external signs of injury.

He dumped the two girls' bodies in an oil hatch located on his work site. He buried Shannan in a shallow grave nearby. Prosecutor Michael Rourke revisited the moment for the courtroom:

"Imagine this: This defendant took those little girls, put them through a hatch eight inches in diameter. Bella had scratches on her left buttocks from being shoved through the hole."

A day after their disappearance in August, Chris spoke to reporters. He was on television pleading for his family's safe return. On the 16th, he was arrested on three counts of murder.


At first, Chris claimed he strangled his wife only after she herself strangled Celeste. His many lies never added up. He later confessed and plead guilty to avoid the death sentence.

Chris' attorney described him as "devastated" during the trial. She also conveyed that Chris is "sincerely sorry for all of this." But it fell on deaf ears due to the horrific nature of the crime.

Judge Kopcow said:

"You don't annihilate your family and throw them away like garbage. Why did they have to lose their lives in order for him to get what he wanted?"

What Chris wanted may have been to run away with a co-worker he began an affair with while married. The two went out on several dates before the tragedy.


Nichol Kessinger, who spoke to Denver Post, may have been the other woman. Kessinger says Chris told her he would be getting a divorce soon.

When Chris murdered his family, Kessinger found it strange that the media was at his house. She dug deeper and found out the truth about Chris' marriage.

Although Chris had asked for a separation soon before killing his wife, they were nowhere near divorced. Kessinger told Chris that she would no longer speak to him until his family was found.


After they were discovered dead, she collaborated with the police in the investigation. Rourke called her "absolutely instrumental."

The only semblance of sympathy in the courtroom came from Chris' mother Cynthia Watts. Earlier this month, she expressed her desire for her son to fight the charges.

Cynthia did not believe that her son killed his daughters. Speaking to the Denver Post, Cynthia described her son as being "railroaded into [confessing]."


Cynthia claimed that wife Shannan was abusive to her son. And said he should be mentally evaluated. She felt that his guilty plea was wrong. But later on she retracted her support for her son.

She and husband Ronnie did not request leniency from the judge on their son's behalf. Instead, she spoke to her son in the courtroom and told him she still loves him.

"We have loved you from the beginning and we still love you now. ... We forgive you, son."

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