Chris Watts Took Photos of Daughters Before Their Deaths & Now Blames Murders on Mistress

Photo of Shan'ann Watts and daughters next to a photo of Watts and Kessinger
Dr. Phil/YouTube

On July 13, nearly a year after Chris Watts strangled his pregnant wife Shan'ann and their two daughters, HLN aired a special episode of Lies, Crimes & Video that revealed new details about the Colorado dad's secret life before the murders. After poring through the convicted murderer's former cellphone, producers unlocked a treasure trove of photos and video hidden deep within -- including scandalous photos of his mistress, Nichol Kessinger, and the last photos he ever took of his wife and daughters alive. But most shocking of all were the new interviews HLN conducted with the women who now visit him behind bars.

  • One of those women, Anna, agreed to speak on camera. She claimed that Watts is truly remorseful about his actions.

    Anna, who allegedly visits Watts in prison once every two weeks or so, says he has nothing but loving things to say about his late wife, Shan'ann. (That's right -- the same wife that he strangled in bed, shortly after the pair had sex in the early morning hours of August 13, 2018. The same wife he then wrapped in a sheet, loaded into the back of his pickup truck, and buried in a shallow grave.)

    "When Chris talks to me about Shan'ann, he talks about how great she was and how much he loved her," said Anna. "Chris feels like he had a break in reality like he snapped, like he was demon-possessed."

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  • Watts, who is now serving five consecutive life sentences in a Wisconsin prison, was convicted last November after pleading guilty.

    Initially, he confessed to killing Shan'ann, 34, and by extension, their unborn child Niko. But he maintained that he only did so after seeing her strangle their daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. 

    Watts eventually pleaded guilty to all four murders, and in February, he shared more details with investigators in a jailhouse interview. 

    During hours of recorded footage, Watts claimed to have strangled Shan'ann after she confronted him about having an affair, and the conversation got heated. When talk turned to divorce, he alleged that Shan'ann went so far as to say he was "never going to see the kids" again, which made him snap.

    "Every time I think about it, I'm just like, 'Did I know I was going to do that before I got on top of her?'" he said at the time. "I don't even want to say it felt like I had to. It just felt like there was already something in my mind that was implanted that I was gonna do it and when I woke up that morning it was gonna happen and I had no control over it." 

    And so, he strangled her. Then he wrapped his wife's body in a bed sheet and brought it downstairs -- which is when Bella woke up and asked what was happening. Celeste soon followed, and Watts admitted he put them both in the cab of his truck before he made the 45-minute drive to an oil site at his place of work, Anadarko Petroleum. 

    Once there, he buried Shan'ann's body in the field and strangled his daughters, one after the other, before stuffing their bodies into separate oil drums.

  • The details of the murders themselves are almost too gruesome to fathom, though Watts now claims he is a "changed man" in prison.

    “I’m still a Dad! I’m still a son! No matter what,” Watts wrote in a letter to his mom, Cindy, who read it aloud in the HLN doc. “Now, I can add servant of God to that mix! He has shown me peace. Peace, love, and forgiveness, and that’s how I live every day.”

  • In the documentary, Anna has some shocking claims about what -- and more specifically, who -- drove Watts to commit the murders.

    Kessinger and Watts before the murders

    "Chris feels that if the affair would have never happened and [Nichol Kessinger] would have never came into his life, that the murders would never have happened. He thinks that she had this strong control over him, that he describes like a ‘leash’ that he wasn’t able to get off of or get away from, and he thinks that that has played a role in what happened."

    In other words: It's all the mistress's fault.

  • During the investigation, it was revealed that Watts began dating coworker Nichol Kessinger just months before the murders.

    Private photos of Nichol Kessinger

    While he admitted that he was a father, Watts told Kessinger he was getting a divorce, and never made mention of the fact that his wife was newly pregnant with their third child.

    Instead, Watts began leading a double life in the hours he spent away from his family -- even going so far as to hide tons of videos, photos, and text messages within his phone, filing them under an app disguised as a calculator.

    Kessinger told police that it wasn't until Shan'ann was reported missing, and learned that the pair were still married and expecting a baby, that she grew suspicious. It didn't help that he was also acting pretty strange, either.

    In one text Shan'ann reportedly planned to send to Watts, she said:

    "Can you please tell me something, because just like you, I'm in my head? I try to fix things and make them better and this is making me crazy. I know that you need time. I want to give you what you're asking for and respect your space, I need some time. This place that I'm in, in my head, is not a good place. It is not healthy for me, or Niko. I need you to help me help you. I need you to give just a little bit of what I did, or didn't do, so I'm not going crazy in my head to figure it out. I know I can't fix this by myself; that, we are going to have to work together."

  • Aside from bikini-clad photos of Kessinger, producers of "Killer Dad" also found chilling images of Bella and CeCe just hours before their deaths.

    The candid images, which show the girls eating breakfast and lounging in the backyard, were sent from Chris to Shan'ann while she was away on her business trip before she was murdered shortly after returning home. The Daily Mail recently obtained the images through an open records request, along with the last known image of Shan'ann taken by Chris.

    The home, which was originally purchased by the couple in 2013, is now up for sale, according to The Herald Sun.