Chris Watts's Parents Blame Murdered Wife for 'Abusive' Marriage & Fiercely Defend Son

Shanann Watts/Facebook

Although Chris Watts pleaded guilty on November 6 to the murders of his pregnant wife Shan'ann and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste, there are two people who still don't believe he did it: his parents. In an emotional interview, Ronnie and Cynthia Watts opened up about life since their daughter-in-law and grandchildren were discovered strangled to death in Colorado, and they fiercely defended their son. Now, Cynthia is begging Chris to withdraw his guilty plea because she's convinced that he wasn't the one who actually murdered Bella and Celeste.  

“How does he go from a decent person to a killer?” she asked. “If he won’t fight for his daggone self, I will.”

  • “I know he confessed, but he was railroaded into it,” Cynthia said.

    Cynthia explained that she hasn't been allowed to talk to her son since his arrest in August and that she believes his public defenders convinced him to enter a guilty plea. "I want him to take back the plea deal," she said.

    By pleading guilty, Watts admitted to killing Shan'ann, 34, their unborn child, Bella, 4, Celeste, 3, and then hiding their bodies in an oil field, where Shan'ann was found in a shallow grave and his girls were discovered in oil tanks. In return, he will serve three consecutive life sentences but the death penalty is taken off the table, which many believe is the incentive to taking this deal.

    His mom, however, doesn't support this potentially life-saving move. “They stonewalled him. My son deserved to be defended,” she said. “This is outrageous to me.

    "To me, all they wanted to do was save his life, just save his life. Save his life and life in prison -- to me there’s no difference. He’s going to die in prison," she said. "I just want him to fight. I don’t want him to take this plea deal. I want him to plead not guilty to the [murders of the] children.”

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  • That's because Watts' parents believe a different story he previously told: that he killed Shan'ann but not his young daughters.

    When he was first arrested in August, Watts had admitted to killing his wife in a "fit of rage" after seeing her strangling their girls over their baby monitor. He proclaimed his innocence, however, when it came to the deaths of his daughters. 

    And it's that version of events that his parents believe is the truth. “He said, ‘I’m sorry. I lost -- I went into a rage, and I killed her.’ And he said, ‘I am so sorry. I ruined your life. I ruined my life,’" Cynthia said. 

    “After the fact with the bodies, he said, ‘Dad, I could not put the girls with [Shan'ann] after what she did -- I could not put them with her,’” Ronnie added. "It's hard for me to believe that he would hurt them girls no matter what. The story he told me that night, I believed it: The way he looked at me, the way he was crying, I believed it."

  • His parents also described Watts's and Shan'ann's marriage as abusive -- but not at the hands of their son.

    Cynthia and Ronnie said that Shan'ann "isolated" their son during his "hard" marriage.

    "It was a very hard relationship," Cynthia said. "It was a very hard relationship with her as far as I'm concerned. I couldn't do anything right," she said. "He was normal. He didn't have a temper. He was just easy-going like his Dad. He's not a monster."

    When asked who she believes was capable of murdering her grandchildren, Cynthia pointed the finger at her daughter-in-law. "I would say [Shan'ann is] more capable than Christopher. Christopher, I don't see him capable at all but if something happened that night and that did happen -- God forbid if it did happen -- what was the trigger?" she said.

    "Why? What happened? I just want the truth because he's not the sociopath next door. He's not the kind of person that would do something like that. I have to know why. I have to know. It's important to me."

  • Watts's parents said they were blindsided by his decision to take the deal and are determined to keep fighting for him.
    Shanann Watts/Facebook

    His distraught parents explained that because they haven't been able to talk to Watts in the months since his arrest, they weren't aware beforehand that he decided to plead guilty to nine counts, including five counts of first-degree murder.

    Watts faces additional sentencing on November 19 for the other counts including unlawful termination of pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a body. His parents, however, hope that he withdraws his guilty murder pleas before then. 

    "Everything happened too quick there, from a case status to a plea," Ronnie said. "It has been so overwhelming. And I feel like I have to do something to help my son. I just need to do something. If he’s not going to fight, I’m going to fight for him."

    “He’s not a sociopath. He’s not a psychopath,” Cynthia added. "This is my son. He is not a monster."

  • Since the interview, Shan'ann's parents have come to their daughter's defense.
    Shanann Watts/Facebook

    Shan'ann's parents, Frank and Sandra Rzucek, issued a statement sharing their perspective on their daughter and her marriage with Watts:

    "Shan'ann Watts was a faithful wife, and the most gentle and loving mother in the world to her children Bella, Celeste, and Nico. She was also the best daughter any parent could ever hope for. Shan'ann was a wonderful soul.

    Everyone who knew Shan'ann knows this to be true. Even Chris Watts knows this to be true. Yet Chris Watts still chose to murder Shan'ann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico. Chris Watts still chose to dump the bodies of his own family in oil tanks. And Chris Watts still chose to lie about it until he could lie no more. He pled guilty to murdering his family because he is guilty.

    Monday evening, the parents of Chris Watts gave an interview in which they attempted to defend their son. In doing so, they felt the need to make vicious, grotesque and utterly false statements about Shan'ann. Their false statements, however hurtful and inaccurate, will never alter the truth about Shan'ann, and will never alter the truth about the crimes committed by their son, Chris Watts.

    Shan'ann's memory and reputation deserves to be protected. And her family is fully prepared to do so."