In a stunning, unexpected courtroom decision, Chris Watts reached a plea deal in order to avoid the death penalty for the murder of his pregnant wife Shannan Watts and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste.
CBS 4 Denver reports that Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to all nine felony counts in a deal that will allow him to dodge the death penalty. Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled only late last week, nearly two weeks before Watts was expected in court for his arraignment. The Weld County District Attorney’s Office did not disclose the reason for the hearing when it was announced on Friday.
As noted by Fox 31 Denver, the plea agreement “happened very quickly by most legal standards.”
The news station reports that Watts said in court that he accepted the plea deal and was satisfied with his defense team.
A reporter for the Denver Channel said on Twitter that Watts can expect to serve consecutive life sentences for the murders, and that it is not known why he admitted to killing his whole family after trying to pin his daughters’ deaths on his wife.
DA says Chris Watts tried to shine spotlight on Shanann and blame her for the deaths of Celeste and Bella. He says now the spotlight shines directly where it belongs, on Watts. DA couldn't say why Watts changed his story now. @DenverChannel
— Meghan Lopez (@Meghan_Lopez) November 6, 2018
As CrimeOnline previously reported, an arrest affidavit showed that Watts claimed he killed his wife in a “rage” after he saw her strangling one of their daughters on a baby monitor while the other daughter lay limp nearby on a bed.
CrimeOnline’s Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor, has issued a statement on Watts’s guilty plea.
“Life in prison is too good for Watts. The brutal murders of his wife and children are legacy. Something for him to discuss over dinner …. with the devil.”
Watts will be sentenced on November 19.