Autopsy reports of a murdered Colorado mother and her two children can’t be sealed, at least not yet anyway, the Longmont Times-Call reports.
A judge on Friday denied a request by prosecutors to keep hidden autopsy reports in the homicide case against Christopher Watts, 33, who is accused of killing his pregnant wife, Shanaan, and their two daughters, Celeste and Bella.
Prosecutors argued that information in the reports, including the cause of the deaths, will serve as critical evidence at trial.
However, Judge Marcelo Kopcow found that only the county coroner has authority to request autopsy reports be sealed. Such documents are presumptively public under Colorado law but judges can choose to seal them in some situations.
The Weld County Coroner’s Office is conferring with prosecutors about asking the court to keep the records under wraps.
Kopcow’s decision echoed arguments made by the news media challenging prosecutors’ petition to seal the records, according to the newspaper.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities arrested Watts in August after he admitted to killing his wife, but he claims he did so only after he became enraged because his wife purportedly had strangled their two daughters.
Investigators are doubtful of Watts’ claims.
The victims’ bodies were discovered on land owned by Watts’ previous employer, a petroleum company.
Watts is facing five counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. He also has been charged with first-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy.
Watts remains in custody and was placed on suicide watch last month. He is scheduled to be back in court in November.
[Feature Photo: Watts family/Handout]