Colorado man pleads guilty to wife and daughter's murders

Colorado man pleads guilty to wife and daughter's murders

And even though he pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder and other charges in their deaths, it's still not known publicly what happened to 34-year-old Shanann Watts and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

Yesterday, Shanann's family sat in the front row of the court as they listened to Watts enter his pleas.

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. She was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy who she planned to name Nico.

Prosecutors said a possible death penalty was dropped with the agreement of victims' family members.

"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". Rourke said they may decide to testify when Christopher Watts is formally sentenced on November 19.

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

Police said Watts admitted to murdering his wife but claimed he killed her because she strangled their children.

The pleas were in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table however the counts still carry a life sentence.

He killed his wife, Shanann, and their two children.

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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.

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

When Shanann Watts and her two little girls went missing from their home in Frederick, about 30 miles north of Denver, Chris Watts first told news cameras that they had gone to a friend's house. Shanann Watts' body was later discovered on the property of an oil and natural gas company that Christopher Watts had worked for.

A memorial outside the home of Shanann Watts in Colorado.

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

"What I can tell you most affirmatively today, by what happened in the courtroom, is the spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat out lie has been corrected", Rourke said. The spotlight shines squarely on him, ' he said.

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

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

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