Chris Watts Reaches Plea Deal In Murder Case To Avoid Death Penalty

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A Colorado man charged with killing his pregnant wife and two daughters has pleaded guilty under a plea deal that will allow him to avoid the death penalty.

On Tuesday, Watts pleaded guilty to nine counts; four counts of murder (one for each child, his wife and their unborn child), unlawful termination of pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant when she died, according to court records. Her brother looked steadily at Watts throughout the hearing, which lasted about 30 minutes.

Rourke recounted a conversation with Shanann Watts' mother, Sandra Rzucek, that helped make the decision.

Watts claimed in an interview that his 34-year-old partner killed the girls, Celeste and Bella, after learning that he wanted a divorce.

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Shanann Watts' body was found in a shallow grave, and the bodies of Bella and Celeste were discovered in commercial oil tanks at a company where Chris Watts had worked.

His wife was buried there and the girls were submerged in crude oil, with their remains found by police who used a drone to search areas identified by Watts.

Rourke spoke at a news conference following the hearing in Weld County District Court, flanked by law enforcement from the agencies involved in the case, including the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Frederick Police Department.

Investigators claimed in the documents that Watts admitted to police that he killed his wife.

Watts told detectives he was having an affair, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, and that he had loaded the bodies of his wife and daughters into his work truck and taken them to an oil field.

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He said the family was strongly against pursuing the death penalty, especially after they discussed the extensive delays in the process in Colorado.

"That about as firmly as she could have said it to me", Rourke said.

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

"What I can tell you most affirmatively today, by what happened in the court room, is the spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann falsely, incorrectly and, frankly, a flat-out lie has been corrected", Rourke said Tuesday.

"He deserves a life sentence for each and every act", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said. Rourke said he was "sick" and "saddened' over the case". If it goes as planned, Rourke said he will not fight the release of the autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her daughters. The spotlight shines squarely on him, ' he said.

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