Christopher Watts pleads guilty in deaths of wife, young daughters

Colorado man pleads guilty to killing pregnant wife daughters as part of plea deal

The Colorado man accused of slaying his pregnant wife and young daughters pleaded guilty to their gruesome murders in a deal that would spare him the death penalty.

In the high-profile case, Christopher Watts entered the plea in Weld County District Court on Tuesday, his voice shaking as he spoke the words "guilty" nine times in response to the various counts.

The plea deal was approved by Shanann's family who told the district attorney they did not want to end his life as he did their daughter's and grandchildren's.

Mr Rourke said he flew to North Carolina a few weeks ago to discuss the possible agreement with relatives of Shannan Watts and they signed off on removing the death penalty option.

While both Rourke and CBI Director John Camper said they hope this provides some closure and sense of justice, they also recognized that nothing that happens in the courtroom can fix what happened in the Watts' Frederick home in August. But he said: "I know that will never be fully realized, because the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four lovely lives".

As part of the sentencing agreement, Watts will spend the rest of his life in prison for the first-degree murder charges. Rourke told reporters that authorities have what he called a partial motive, and said he would offer more thoughts after Watts is sentenced.

Investigators said Watts in August killed his 34-year-old wife, Shanann, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, before dumping their bodies on property belonging to an oil company where he worked.

Watts reached a plea deal Tuesday afternoon to avoid the death penalty.

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"They were very strongly in favor of a resolution in this case short of the death penalty", Rourke said. Police have said Watts drove their bodies to an oil site owned by his former employer.

Watts, 33, had been charged with murdering his wife of almost six years, Shanann, 34, and their two girls.

Christopher Watts, 33, said he had killed Shannann Watts after seeing her strangling one of their children on a baby monitor.

Rourke said Tuesday that investigators never believed that Watts was being entirely truthful.

Rourke said "the spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly and frankly, a flat-out lie, has been corrected" by his guilty pleas.

Asked if a motive has been determined in the case, Rourke said that investigators believe they have a "partial motive" and Rourke said he would have more to say about that following the sentencing, which is scheduled for November 19. "The spotlight shines directly where it belongs: On him".

Shanann had returned home from a business trip when she was killed.

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