Colorado man pleads guilty to killing pregnant wife, kids

Christopher Watts Arraignment Hearing in Murder Of Wife And Children

Christopher Watts Arraignment Hearing in Murder Of Wife And Children

A man charged with killing his pregnant wife and two daughters will avoid the death penalty after pleading guilty.

Christopher Watts, 33, was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife Shanann and two daughters Celeste and Bella in Colorado in August, according to a press release from the Weld County District Attorney's Office.

Shanann Watts, Bella and Celeste were first reported missing on August 13 by one of Shanann Watts' friends.

Later, as people searched for his missing family, Watts told CNN affiliate KMGH he had had an emotional conversation with his wife, Shanann, the last time he saw her.

The district attorney said lawyers for Chris Watts reached out several weeks ago about making a deal.

Prosecutors say they dropped the possibility of the death penalty with the agreement of the victims' family.

Rourke said he hoped the agreement would bring some measure of closure for the family, who were present during the court hearing and the press conference.

"I know that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four lovely lives". Rourke said they may decide to testify when Christopher Watts is formally sentenced on November 19.

Watts killed wife Shanann, 34, along with their daughters Bella, four, and Celeste, three, on either August 12 or 13.

Christopher Watts is accused of killing his wife and two daughters in Colorado. Later, according to his arrest affidavit, Chris claimed he killed Shan'ann in a "rage" at home after watching her strangle Celeste when he said he wanted to separate.

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

Rourke said he described "extraordinary delays" in carrying out the death penalty in Colorado since Gov. John Hickenlooper's 2013 decision to block the execution of Nathan Dunlap. Shanann Watts' body was later discovered on the property of an oil and natural gas company that Christopher Watts had worked for.

Watts, 33, had been charged with murdering his wife of almost six years, Shanann, 34, and their two girls.

Rourke said "the spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly and frankly, a flat-out lie, has been corrected" by his guilty pleas.

Shanann Watts' mother, father and brother were in court Tuesday but chose not to speak to the media.

Rourke said investigators believe they have a partial motive for the slayings, but said he wouldn't give details until after Watts is sentenced. Rourke said the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

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