Colorado man pleads guilty to killing pregnant wife, kids

Chris Watts has reached a plea deal in his murder case

Christopher Watts, the Frederick man accused of killing his wife and young daughters, pleaded guilty to murder, the judge said on Tuesday.

In court Tuesday, Watts took responsibility for all three deaths, pleading guilty to nine charges, including first-degree murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

Watts replied "guilty" nine times in response to Judge Marcelo Kopcow's reading of each charge.

Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant when she died, according to court records.

Rourke said he had detailed conversations with Shanann Watts' family after Christopher Watts' attorney approached him about a possible deal.

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Chris Watts, 33, struck the plea deal after slaying Shanann Watts, Celeste, three, and four-year-old Bella at their family home in August. Watts told investigators he "went into a rage" and strangled his wife, then dumped all three bodies at the oil field owned by a company he had worked for.

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 have previously said that Watts admitted to police that he killed his wife, Shanann.

However, in a second interview with police, Watts told police he looked at the baby monitor screen and saw Shanann strangling their daughter Celeste and that he saw their older daughter, Bella, blue and "sprawled" out on her bed, according to the affidavit.

Rourke said he and another prosecutor visited Shanann Watts' family in North Carolina last month to discuss the odds of a death penalty sentence being carried out.

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"That about as firmly as she could have said it to me", Rourke said.

"I don't know how I could have sat in Sandy (Rzucek)'s kitchen and asked her to commit the next 25 years of her life of the criminal justice system", Rourke said. Rourke told reporters that authorities have what he called a partial motive, and said he would offer more thoughts after Watts is sentenced.

Rourke said he described "extraordinary delays" in carrying out the death penalty in Colorado since Gov. John Hickenlooper's 2013 decision to block the execution of Nathan Dunlap.

"I can only say that I hope there is a sense of closure", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said following the hearing. Rourke said he was "sick" and "saddened' over the case". "The spotlight shines directly where it belongs - on him", Rourke said.

"No one wins today", he said.

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A memorial outside the home of Shanann Watts in Colorado. I never wanted to have to stand up and have a press conference like this.

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