Chris Watts Gets Life In Prison For ‘Inhumane & Vicious’ Slaughter Of His Family

A Colorado judge sentenced Chris Watts, 33, to life in prison for the murder of his two young daughters and pregnant wife.

November 20, 2018
By: Catherine Townsend

FREDERICK, CO — Chris Watts was sentenced to five life sentences without the possibility of parole on Monday for killing his pregnant wife Shanann, 34, and his daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Judge Marcelo A. Kopcow also sentenced Watts to 48 years for the unlawful termination of Shanaan’s 15-week pregnancy and 36 years for the disposal of the bodies.

According to Shanann's parents, she had already picked out a name for her first son: Nico Lee.

Kopcow called the case "the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen."

Weld County district attorney J. Rourke described in detail how Watts smothered his daughters before stuffing their bodies through eight-inch openings in oil tanks.

Watts had first claimed that his wife and daughters had gone missing, and made a tearful TV plea for their return. But soon police began to focus their investigation on the father of two.

During questioning, he confessed to police that he flew into a rage and murdered his wife after witnessing her strangle their daughters on a baby monitor. But at the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor stated in detail how the evidence did not fit Watts's version of events. Shanann's hyoid bone was not broken, and she did not have defensive wounds that would have pointed to a rage-filled murder.

Instead, Rourke said that the killing had been "slow" and "methodical" as Watts strangled her to death with his bare hand, a process that he said would have taken two to four minutes.

"The horror that she felt as the man she loved wrapped his hands around her throat and choked the life out of her must have been unimaginable," he said. "Even worse, what must Bella, age four, and Celeste, age three, have experienced or thought as their father, the one man on this planet who was supposed to nurture and protect them, was snuffing out their lives?"

Bella "fought back for her life as her father smothered her," Rourke said, and the little girl bit her tongue multiple times as her father choked her.

Watts's story eventually fell apart, and he eventually admitted to killing his family. After the murders, he then loaded the bodies into his work truck.

He was seen on the neighbor's doorbell camera making multiple trips to the garage to move the remains. Watts then dumped the bodies of his daughters in oil tanks on the property of his former employer, the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

Rourke went through the physical evidence methodically at the sentencing hearing, and described how investigators found a "tuft of blonde hair" at the entrance to a tank.

Watts buried his wife in a shallow grave nearby, according to court documents.

Watts pleaded guilty to the murders earlier this month. As part of the plea arrangement, prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty.

Watts's parents were also at the sentencing hearing and were allowed to speak, as the paternal grandparents of two of the victims.

Shanann's father, Frank Rzucek, called Watts "evil" and "a monster" in court. Shanann's mother, Sandra Rzucek, said that she and the rest of the family had asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty for Watts. "Your life is between you and God now, and I pray that he has mercy on you," she said.

"In the end, the Rzucek family was much more merciful toward him than he was toward them," the prosecutor said in court, according to The New York Times.

Read more: The New York Times, CNN

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