‘She’s more capable’: Parents of Chris Watts say he was in abusive marriage; did not kill daughters Bella and Celeste

The parents of Chris Watts, who pleaded guilty last week to murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters, have said they believe the late Shannan Watts was “more capable” of killing her daughters Bella and Celeste than their son was.

Doubling down on claims she made in an earlier interview with local Denver news station, Chris Watts’s mother Cindy Watts was joined by her husband Randy Watts in an interview with ABC News 11 from their home in Fayetville, North Carolina.

Both parents said they believe that Chris Watts killed Shannan, but continue to have doubts about who was responsible for the deaths of their 3- and 4-year-old daughters. An an arrest affidavit obtained by CrimeOnline in August showed, Chris Watts eventually confessed to detectives that he killed his wife after speaking to his father, but insisted that he killed her in a rage after seeing her strangling their daughter Celeste, 3, while Bella lay nearby, appearing limp and blue.

On November 6, Watts pleaded guilty to all felony counts against him, including three counts of first-degree murder. The surprise plea agreement means he will be spared the death penalty, and is expected to serve consecutive life sentences for the murders and the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Shannan Watts was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.

In the interview with ABC News 11, Randy Watts says he believed his son’s claims about the murders.

“The story he told me that night, I believed it: The way he looked at me, the way he was crying, I believed it.”

Cindy Watts indicated that Shannan Watts kept Chris isolated from his family, and said that she believed the marriage was abusive.

“It was a very hard relationship,” Cindy Watts said. “It was a very hard relationship (with Shanann) as far as I’m concerned. I couldn’t do anything right.”

Cindy did not provide any specifics about what type of abuse Shannan had purportedly committed, but said that Chris changed after he became involved with her. It appears that Chris’s parents never had a good relationship with Shannan; they did not even attend their son’s 2012 wedding.

In an interview with Fox 31 Denver earlier this week, Cindy Watts said she hasn’t been able to communicate with Chris Watts recently, and that she fears he was coerced into accepting a plea deal. 

Asked by ABC News 11 if she believed her son was capable of killing his family, Cindy Watts again pointed a finger at Shannan.

“I would say she’s more capable than Christopher. Christopher, I don’t see him capable at all but if something happened that night and that did happen — God forbid if it did happen — what was the trigger? Why? What happened? I just want the truth because he’s not the sociopath next door. He’s not the kind of person that would do something like that. I have to know why. I have to know.”

Shannan’s family responded to Cindy’s comments with the following statement:

“Shanann Watts was a faithful wife, and the most gentle and loving mother in the world to her children Bella, Celeste, and Nico. She was also the best daughter any parent could ever hope for. Shanann was a wonderful soul.

Everyone who knew Shanann knows this to be true. Even Chris Watts knows this to be true. Yet Chris Watts still chose to murder Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico. Chris Watts still chose to dump the bodies of his own family in oil tanks. And Chris Watts still chose to lie about it until he could lie no more. He pled guilty to murdering his family because he is guilty.

Monday evening, the parents of Chris Watts gave an interview in which they attempted to defend their son. In doing so, they felt the need to make vicious, grotesque and utterly false statements about Shanann. Their false statements, however hurtful and inaccurate, will never alter the truth about Shanann, and will never alter the truth about the crimes committed by their son, Chris Watts.

Shanann’s memory and reputation deserves to be protected. And her family is fully prepared to do so.”

Chris Watts is due in court for his sentencing on November 19.