Man escapes death penalty after admitting killing wife and two daughters

Dad accused of killing wife, kids pleads guilty to gruesome murders

A Colorado father has pleaded guilty to killing his two young daughters and his pregnant wife in a deal that removes the death penalty as a possible sentence, according to the Weld County District Attorney's Office.

"We believe that we have a partial motive", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke told reporters later Tuesday, after Chris, 33, pleaded guilty to nine charges including first-degree murder.

He could be heard sniffing and trembled each time he said "guilty" in response to each charge read against him by the judge. Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant at the time.

Mr Rourke said the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

Shanann Watts, Bella and Celeste were first reported missing on August 13 by one of Shanann Watts' friends.

He told officers he loaded his wife and children's bodies into the back seat of his truck and drove them to an oil and natural gas company he worked for.

In August, after Shanann and the two girls were reported missing, Watts appeared on local television pleading for their safe return.

Investigators discovered Watts was "actively involved in an affair with a co-worker", which he had denied during an earlier interview.

When the bodies were found, Watts changed his story to say his wife killed the girls after he told her he was leaving her.

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However, in a second interview with police, Watts told police he looked at the baby monitor screen and saw Shanann strangling their daughter Celeste and that he saw their older daughter, Bella, blue and "sprawled" out on her bed, according to the affidavit.

The request to not seek the death penalty came from Shanann Watts' family.

Rourke called those claims a "flat out lie" and said he did not believe Christopher Watts would give authorities a full, accurate and truthful statement.

"They were very strongly in favor of a resolution in this case short of the death penalty", Rourke said.

"I do not want to be in the position of making the choice to take his", Rourke said, quoting Sandra.

"I know that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four attractive lives".

When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened".

"The spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly.is now shined correctly on him", Rourke said.

'No one wins today. If it goes as planned, Rourke said he will not fight the release of the autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her daughters. I never wanted to have to stand up and have a press conference like this.

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