SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Colorado man discloses details about killing wife, daughters

Christopher Watts made the statements during a prison interview with detectives on Feb. 18, three months after he was sentenced to life in prison. Authorities said they believe the grim details represent Watts' first full confession.

Posted: Mar 7, 2019 11:20 AM

By KATHLEEN FOODY Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters has acknowledged to investigators that he strangled his wife in their bed then drove her body and the girls to a worksite, where he smothered the girls using a blanket, according to documents released Thursday.

Christopher Watts made the statements during a prison interview with detectives on Feb. 18, three months after he was sentenced to life in prison. Authorities said they believe the grim details represent Watts' first full confession.

The suburban Denver crime began with the disappearance of Shanann Watts and the children, and Christopher Watts' televised pleas for their safe return. He was arrested within days and later pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty.

Watts, however, didn't provide a full account at the time on the killings or his motive.

Authorities who visited Watts in February told him that "his life and situation was unique and we wanted to fully understand what happened," according to a written summary of the interview. An audio recording indicates Watts, 33, expressed no hesitation about talking.

Watts previously blamed his wife for killing 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste but acknowledged in the interview that was a lie. He said detectives were the first to mention that Shanann may have killed their children and he "just went with it."

Watts said he strangled 34-year-old Shanann in their bed on Aug. 13 after he told her their marriage was over and she said he would never see their children again. Watts said his wife correctly suspected that he was having an affair, but he did not tell her about his ongoing relationship with a co-worker before killing her.

Authorities say Watts wanted a chance to start over with the woman.

Watts told investigators the woman "never asked him to get rid of his family" but their relationship may have "contributed" to his actions.

After he strangled Shanann, Watts said Bella came into their bedroom and asked what was wrong with her mother. She then watched as Watts wrapped his wife's body in a bed sheet and pulled it down the stairs of their home.

Watts said he put her body on the floor of his truck's back seat. When he went inside, Celeste also was awake. Watts said he loaded the girls into the backseat of the truck.

Each child had a blanket and Celeste also brought a stuffed animal. Watts claimed he had no plan for his daughters but drove to an oil worksite about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the family's home in Frederick. He worked there as an operator for an oil and gas producer.

He told police he pulled Shanann's body from the truck as the girls asked, "What are you doing to Mommy?"

He said he went back to the truck and used Celeste's blanket to smother her as Bella watched. He then put Celeste's body inside an oil tank before returning to the truck and smothering Bella using the same blanket, the documents say.

Her last words were "Daddy, no!" he told police, adding that Bella struggled under the blanket. He said he put her body inside another oil tank and buried Shanann's body nearby.

Watts insisted that he did not plan to kill his wife or children.

"If I was thinking, this wouldn't have happened," he said.

Watts told investigators that he pleaded guilty to avoid a lengthy trial playing out before family and did not feel pressured by his attorneys to make an agreement with prosecutors.

The interview records also provide a glimpse of Watts' life in prison. Colorado prison officials moved him out of the state but have refused to confirm his location. A site allowing people to send money to inmates lists Watts under the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Watts told police he read the Bible for the first time in prison and he writes down scriptures each day to send his parents. He keeps photos of his wife and daughters in his cell and "talks to them every morning and every night."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32994

Reported Deaths: 547
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7204138
Marion469594
Washington454060
Umatilla298741
Clackamas242061
Malheur163327
Lane123417
Jackson11615
Deschutes85212
Yamhill76213
Jefferson5418
Polk53215
Linn52213
Morrow5056
Lincoln48213
Union4462
Benton3146
Wasco2963
Klamath2802
Hood River2520
Douglas2334
Clatsop2170
Josephine1982
Columbia1791
Coos1570
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook530
Lake330
Curry310
Wallowa311
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 812711

Reported Deaths: 15633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2684556515
Riverside589321206
San Bernardino54482925
Orange534481216
San Diego46734776
Kern31994369
Fresno28441382
Sacramento22356406
Santa Clara21241314
Alameda21240406
San Joaquin20245441
Contra Costa16640206
Stanislaus16471356
Tulare15970263
Ventura12775150
Imperial11852317
San Francisco11195101
Monterey995372
San Mateo9897150
Santa Barbara9090113
Merced8872142
Kings765180
Sonoma7412122
Marin6730118
Solano640065
Madera453965
Placer358745
San Luis Obispo356229
Butte283344
Yolo281555
Santa Cruz23609
Sutter170511
Napa169013
San Benito134811
Yuba11537
El Dorado11304
Mendocino93418
Shasta88317
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5735
Lake55511
Nevada5377
Colusa5316
Humboldt5088
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18815
Mono1662
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Brookings
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Crater Lake
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 40°
Grants Pass
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 52°
Klamath Falls
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 40°
Hot and dry week, smoke returns
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Possible housing solutions after wildfires

Image

Monday, September 28th Evening Weather

Image

Similarities in days had southern Oregonians on edge

Image

Monday, September 28 afternoon weather

Image

Monday, September 28 morning weather

Image

Sunday, September 27 evening weather

Image

Sunday, September 27 morning weather

Image

The initial spread of the Almeda Fire in real-time

Image

Saturday, September 26 evening weather

Image

Saturday, September 26 morning weather