World Media

Man escapes death penalty after admitting killing wife and two daughters

Christopher Watts Arraignment Hearing in Murder Of Wife And Children

Colorado father Christopher Watts pleaded guilty to murdering his pregnant wife and their two children on Tuesday after striking a deal with prosecutors which means he will not face the death penalty.

Christopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in Greeley, Colorado.

Watts' voice quavered slightly as he entered the guilty pleas before Judge Marcelo Kopcow.

Shanann's parents Frank and Sandra Rzucek are pictured at the press conference after his hearing on Tuesday. The district attorney said he thinks authorities have a partial motive for the killings.

Watts, a former oil and gas worker, was charged in August with killing his pregnant wife and their daughters inside their home in Frederick, a community in the oil and gas fields north of Denver.

It's alleged he drove their bodies to an oil site, and police said the girls' bodies were found in an oil tank while his wife's body was found in a shallow grave. Investigators later learned Watts had been involved in an affair with a coworker, the affidavit states.

Christopher Watts, 33, said he had killed Shannann Watts after seeing her strangling one of their children on a baby monitor. He was accused of strangling wife Shanann Watts, 34, and their daughters, Bella and Celeste, ages 4 and 3.

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

Watts had initially denied the murders which happened in August this year. "I know that that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four attractive lives (including Shanann's unborn baby)".

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.

"I can only say that I hope there is a sense of closure (for family members of the deceased)", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said.

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

Colorado law requires that a first-degree murder conviction brings a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened". I never wanted to have to stand up and have a press conference like this.

Watts' family had all flown out to Colorado in order to be in court today to support him.

At first, Watts said he and his wife had been up all night having an emotional conversation.