Colorado man pleads guilty to wife and daughter's murders

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

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

Christopher Watts pleaded guilty today to the murder of his pregnant wife and two young daughters in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table.

He will avoid the death penalty by pleading guilty to the crimes. His plea includes the unlawful termination of pregnancy for the death of his unborn son, Nico. He said a judge has not formally accepted the guilty pleas or the sentence.

Christopher Watts, 33, was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife Shanann and two daughters Celeste and Bella in Colorado in August, according to a press release from the Weld County District Attorney's Office.

Chris Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to the nine charges, including first-degree murder.

Shanann Watts' parents, Sandra and Frank Rzucek, as well as her brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., also attended the hearing and subsequent press conference.

He said the family was strongly against pursuing the death penalty, especially after they discussed the extensive delays in the process in Colorado. Hickenlooper also expressed doubts at the time about the use of the death penalty generally.

The dad pleaded to news outlets for the family's safe return the day before he was arrested in their deaths. He recalled her mother, Sandra, saying Christopher Watts "made the choice" to take the lives of his family members.

"I do not want to be in the position of making the choice to take his", Mr Rourke said. "That's about as firmly as she could have said it to me".

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The Rzucek family watched from a row of chairs, holding hands, as Rourke spoke to reporters but did not speak.

Watts will be sentenced on November 19 and is facing life in prison.

Shanann Watts, center, and her children are seen in this photo posted to Facebook.

Watts reported his wife and their girls, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, missing August 13 from their home in Frederick, a town about 30 miles north of Denver. The bodies were found the week Watts was arrested.

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. Watts has claimed Shanann had killed one daughter and was actively trying to kill the other when he attacked her in an act of passion, CBS Denver reported.

Watts told police he went into a rage and strangled his wife, according to the affidavit.

Rourke said investigators believe they have a partial motive for the slayings, but said he wouldn't give details until after Watts is sentenced.

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