Colorado man gets life for killing pregnant wife, 2 girls

Shanann Watts with her daughters Bella 4 and Celeste 3

Christopher Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to the heinous slayings of Shanann Watts, 34, and the couple's daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, earlier this month in exchange for prosecutors sparing him the death penalty.

Chris Watts pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him: five counts of murder in the first degree; three counts of tampering with a deceased human body; and one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy.

Christopher Watts' sentence was handed down Monday after his parents and the family of his slain wife Shanann Watts made emotional statements before the court.

From his doorstep in Frederick that afternoon, the 33-year-old oil field operator told reporters that he had rushed home from work upon hearing that Shanann's friends couldn't find her or reach her.

At first, Watts played the part of concerned husband and father, pleading on television for the safe return of his family.

Sandra Rzucek, Shanann's mother, said they loved Chris Watts "like a son". "But we will remain faithful as your family ... we love you and we forgive you, son". "She fought back for her life as her father smothered her". Shanann Watts' family was OK with taking the option off the table, he said. The children's bodies were found in oil tanks on the same property in Weld County.

Watts was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for the deaths of Shanann, Bella, and Celeste.

Chris Watts' mother, Cindy Watts, called the crime an "absolute horror" for both families.

His in-laws, on the other hand, had much to say to him before he was escorted away to spend the rest of his life in prison.

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Chris Watts told Kessinger he had two daughters and was going through a mutual divorce, which was nearly finalized, Kessinger said.

"My kids are my life", he told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH.

Within days, he was arrested and charged with killing his family. At the time, Shanann Watts was working in a children's hospital call center for $18 per hour.

After the plea deal was announced, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke told reporters that authorities have a partial motive. He would offer more thoughts after Watts is sentenced, he said.

Prosecutors said the images belied a hidden truth, that Christopher Watts was having an affair and making plans for a new life. "I barely knew him". She never met any of his relatives or friends, Kessinger told The Post.

Rzucek added: 'They were loving and caring people.

Watts sent her a text August 13 to say his family had disappeared, and she was confused about why the media was at his house.

The murderer then claimed his 15 weeks-pregnant wife, who was expecting a son, strangled the girls after he told her he was leaving her.

"It got to a point that he was telling me so many lies that I eventually told him that I did not want to speak to him again until his family was found", she told the paper, explaining that she called police on August 15 to report Watts' lies.

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