Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Chris Watts: Dad admits to killing family to avoid death penalty

Chris Watts: Dad admits to killing family to avoid death penalty

A 33-year-old Colorado man pleaded guilty to killing his wife and two young daughters on Tuesday in a deal with authorities that allows him to escape the death penalty.

Christopher Watts entered his plea Tuesday during a court hearing in Greeley.

Watts initially told police he strangled his wife in a rage because, after the couple had argued, she killed their two girls. Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant at the time.

Watts pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife and daughters and allegations that he killed the girls while in a position of trust.

Taking a stab at Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who had repeatedly opposed the execution of another death row inmate Nathan Dunlap, Rourke said: 'We explained to them the extraordinary delays that now exist in the state of Colorado as a result of in part the actions of our current governor.

"What I can tell you most affirmatively today by what happened in the courtroom, is the spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie, has been corrected", said Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke.

Watts will be sentenced on November 19.

'They were very strongly in favor of a resolution in this case short of the death penalty.

The plea deal was approved by Shanann's family who told the district attorney they did not want to end his life as he did their daughter's and grandchildren's.

While Rourke denied the initial plea offers, he accepted one made a few days ago that did not dismiss any of the nine charges Watts faces.

"That's about as firmly as she could have said it to me".

"That, to me, was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed with this case", Rourke said.

Rourke met with Shannan Watts' parents at their North Carolina home to discuss the case before agreeing to the plea deal, the Denver Post quoted Rourke as saying at a press conference.

At first, Watts said he and his wife had been up all night having an emotional conversation.

Watts, a former oil and gas worker, was charged in August with killing his pregnant wife and their daughters inside their home in Frederick, a community in the oil and gas fields north of Denver.

The children's bodies were found in oil tanks by their mother's shallow grave.

Investigators never believed his story, Mr Rourke said. "The spotlight shines directly where it belongs: On him".

Law enforcement believe they know the motive behind the murders, as well, and Rourke said he might speak about it after the sentencing.

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