Chris Watts Pleads Guilty to Killing Pregnant Wife & 2 Daughters

chris watts pleads guilty
shanannwatts/Instagram

For months, Chris Watts, the Colorado dad accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters, has vehemently denied involvement in his children's deaths. But Tuesday, in a shocking turn of events, Watts appeared to confirm what many suspected all along. The accused killer pleaded guilty in the deaths of his wife, Shan'ann, and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste, as part of a plea deal that will reportedly help him avoid the death penalty.

  • Watts has been in jail since August 15, when he was arrested and charged in the deaths of his family.

    Watts initially told police he killed Shan'ann in a "fit of rage" after she strangled their daughters in an act of revenge for Watts wanting to end their marriage. At the time of her death, 34-year-old Shan'ann was 15 weeks pregnant with a boy she planned to name Nico Lee. Watts allegedly buried her body in a shallow grave in an oil field and placed the bodies of his 3- and 4-year-old daughters inside two oil drums.

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  • Watts was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a body.

    On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to all nine charges, according to People. The move comes as a shock for many following the case, as Watts and his defense team initially seemed to be going to great lengths to prove his innocence. Last month, his attorney unsuccessfully fought against attempts to get Watts's DNA, fingerprints, and footprints.

  • Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke says Watts's confession essentially proves his story about Shan'ann killing their daughters is untrue.

    “What I can tell you most affirmatively today, by what happened in the courtroom, is the spotlight that he tried to shine on Shan'ann falsely, incorrectly … has been corrected,” he said in a press conference. “The spotlight shines directly where it belongs: on him.”

  • As a result of his guilty pleas, Watts will be formally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on November 19.

    Rourke said the plea deal was reached with the consent of Shan'ann's family, who are feeling "relief, but extraordinary sadness." He also said investigators have a "partial motive" for the crime but that he cannot comment on it until Watts's sentencing.

  • An anonymous source who spoke to People said Watts has "come to terms with reality" in recent weeks.

    Initially, Watts was on suicide watch. But according to the source, he is now "energized" and thinking clearly.

    "Chris had to come to terms with reality. He didn’t like it at all," the source said, "but he’s smart enough to know that his back was against the wall, and the best thing for him to do was to plead guilty. ... The evidence against him was overwhelming. There was physical evidence and his own words that would convict him. His story didn’t work.”