DAD MURDERS WIFE & CHILDREN, 5X Life, No Parole
Before learning he would never walk out of prison Monday, Chris Watts sat at the defense table, head down and leg bobbing, as his mother told him she loved him and his slain wife’s family called him a monster.
Calling it perhaps “the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen,” Judge Marcelo Kopcow handed down five life sentences — three consecutive and two concurrent — with no possibility of parole, in the deaths of Watts’ daughters and pregnant wife.
Watts also received an additional 48 years for the death of his unborn son, who was to be named Nico Lee, and 36 more years for crimes related to his disposal of the bodies.
Christopher Watts, 33, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, kept his head low and cried as Shanann’s family members addressed the courtroom.
“I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them,” Shanann’s father, Frank Rzucek, said in an emotional statement. “They also trusted you, the heartless monster, and then you take them out like trash. You disgust me.”
Shanann’s brother, Frankie Rusick Jr asked: “What kind of man slaughters the ones who love him the most?”
“You went from being my brother, my sister’s protector, one of those most loved people in my family, to someone I will spend the rest of my life trying to understand,” the statement read.
He said when he wrote the statement, he felt hate and betrayal. Watts wasn’t “even worth the time it takes for me to put this pen to this paper,” the statement read.
He said Watts was his family’s hero. They looked up to him. They trusted him to keep them safe.
Police said in an affidavit unsealed about a week after the bodies were discovered that Shanann came home after midnight on Aug. 13 after a business trip. Watts told detectives that he awoke around 5 a.m. and had a talk with his wife about separating.
He said he left for work just before 5:30 a.m., which authorities were able to confirm with a neighbor’s security camera.
As police searched for Shanann and the girls, Watts publicly pleaded for their safe return, telling reporters that he was “torn up inside” and he wanted “everybody to just come home.” He also said his wife had left and taken their daughters to a friend’s house and had never come back.
His facade as a distraught husband soon crumbled, however, when police learned that Watts had lied to investigators about being in an affair with a co-worker. According to the affidavit, Watts then changed his story saying that he “strangled Shanann to death” after seeing her kill Bella and Celeste. He then directed authorities to the location of where the bodies were buried.
Anadarko Petroleum fired Watts on Aug. 15, the day he was arrested. The causes of death weren’t made public, but Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said during Monday’s sentencing that Watts strangled Shanann and then smothered Bella and Celeste.
“Imagine the horror in Bella’s mind as her father took her last breaths away,” he said, telling the room that Bella “fought back for her life.”
“The defendant then methodically and calmly loaded their bodies into his work truck — not in a hasty or disorganized way.”
He then backed his vehicle int the driveway, loaded up the bodies in three trips and drove them to a work site, a place he suspected they’d never be found. He buried his wife in a shallow grave before stuffing his daughters into tanks, Rourke said.
“Imagine this: This defendant took those little girls, put them though a hatch 8 inches in diameter,” the prosecutor said. “Bella had scratches on her left buttocks from being shoved through the hole.”
Check out our sources: