The parents of a woman murdered with her two young daughters filed a wrongful death suit against her husband the day he was sentenced to prison for the murders.
The Coloradoan reports that the parents of Shanann Watts filed a wrongful death suit against Chris Watts last week after he was sentenced to three life terms for the murders of Shanann and her daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
Court documents obtained by the news outlet show that Frank and Sandra Rzucek are suing for more than $100,000 in damages for the murders of their daughter and granddaughters. Watts pleaded guilty to killing all three on November 6, after initially claiming to investigators that he had murdered Shanann in a rage after seeing that she strangled her daughters.
The parents are also reportedly suing Watts for the wrongful termination of Shannan’s pregnancy. She was 15 weeks pregnant when she died.
The court filing reportedly notes Watts’s deceptions to investigators and his false claims to the media that he had no idea what happened to his wife and children.
“Defendant also gave multiple interviews to television and media outlets where he falsely claimed that he missed his family and was hoping they would all come home, so as to end his supposed ‘nightmare’ of life without his children,” the lawsuit states, according to the Coloradoan.
Discovery documents released last week by the Weld County District Attorney’s office show that Chris and Shanann Watts may have been experiencing financial difficulty at the time of the murders, and were behind on a mortgage payments on their Frederick, Colorado, home. The morning Shanann was murdered, she reportedly attempted to make an online purchase, but her credit card was declined.
The report notes that according to Colorado law, wrongful death cases can be heard by a judge or a jury. A preliminary hearing is set for January 28.
Watts is serving three life terms without the possibility of parole, and his sentence also reportedly means that he has to pay restitution to the family to cover the cost of funerals and burials.
Chris Watts has reportedly been transferred from the Weld County Jail to the Colorado Department of Corrections.