Convicted family-killer Chris Watts reportedly revealed in a prison letter that he had been thinking about killing his wife Shannan Watts for weeks before her murder, and described her final moments in gruesome detail.
Watts, who is serving multiple life sentences in a Wisconsin prison for the murder of his pregnant wife and two young daughters, shared the new details — that conflict with information he had previously told investigators — in a letter to first-time author Cheryln Cadle, who included her correspondence with Watts in her upcoming book “Letters From Christopher: The Tragic Confessions of the Watts Family Murders,” and shared it with Daily Mail.
According to the report, Chadle and Watts communicated through letters and on the phone, and she visited him in prison three times, earning his trust by agreeing that her book would highlight his newfound commitment to God. In the letter published in the Daily Mail, Watts even spoke of joining the ministry were he ever to be released, and indicated he felt a release was possible, though his sentence did not include the possibility of parole.
From the letter:
Do I feel like I should be incarcerated for the act I committed, I most definitely think so. Do I imagine myself ever doing anything like this or be a danger to society? I most definitely think NOT! If I were to ever be released, I know I would go straight to a ministry, and start going to jails/prisons and help inmates.
Watts, who was having an affair with co-worker Nichol Kessinger since the late spring or early summer of 2018, also reportedly wrote in the letter that he considered killing Shannan for “weeks” before her murder, and admitted to surreptitiously giving her the opiate painkiller Oxycodone in an attempt to terminate her pregnancy.
“I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn’t pregnant,” he wrote in the letter.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Watts told the author that he had tried to kill his daughters Bella and Celeste in their beds before he strangled his wife, but that his attempts to smother them were unsuccessful, and they both regained consciousness and got out of bed, appearing bruised and traumatized.
Watts described in grisly detail how he murdered his pregnant wife after telling her that he wanted a divorce.
“All the weeks of me thinking about killing her, and now I was faced with it. When she started to get drowsy, I somehow knew how to squeeze the jugular veins until it cut off the blood flow to her brain, and she passed out,” Watts reportedly wrote.
“I knew if I took my hands off of her, she would still keep me from Nikki. They asked me why she couldn’t fight back, it’s because she couldn’t fight back. Her eyes filled with blood; as she looked at me and she died. I knew she was gone when she relieved herself.”
CrimeOnline has not independently verified the authenticity of the letter. Much of what Watts reportedly wrote to the author conflicts with interviews he gave detectives at the beginning of the investigation and a subsequent interview he gave law enforcement agents from prison earlier this year. Watts had previously characterized his wife’s murder as a spontaneous crime of passion, and had not admitted to planning or even considering the murders before then. The letter shared by the Daily Mail is also the first known instance Watts admitted to the earlier attempt to kill his daughters. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Watts also indicated that he may not have been as certain as he claimed to investigators that the girls were dead when he dropped their bodies into separate oil tankers.
Watts lied to police and the news media immediately following his family’s disappearance, and he also lied on a polygraph test during a police interrogation. When he finally admitted to murdering his wife, he claimed that he had killed Shannan in a rage after she had strangled their daughters. Weeks later, he unexpectedly pleaded guilty to all three killings, sparing himself the death penalty and halting further investigation.
Both Watts and Kessinger admitted to the affair in police interviews, though Kessinger claimed she did not know Shannan was pregnant and believed Chris and his wife were on their way to divorcing. She said that her flirtation with Watts began in the late spring of 2018, and had developed into an intense sexual affair by early summer. Kessinger told police that she did not know Shannan’s name for a “while” after meeting Watts.
Late last year, after Watts had entered into a plea agreement, the Weld County District Attorney released discovery documents that included records of phone and internet data obtained for investigative purposes. Entries in the “Phone Data Review” of Kessinger’s phone show that she had done online searches for both Shanann Watts and Chris Watts dating back to 2017, long before she and Watts are believed to have met.
Asked about the apparent inconsistency represented by these entries, the district attorney could not explain Kessinger’s internet search history, and said that prosecutors would not further pursue the matter because Watts had pleaded guilty.
“It’s not a typographical error in the report. [The detectives] are reporting what was contained in the data from her phone. I don’t know the answer to the question of why or how those dates ended up in her phone,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke told CrimeOnline in December.
“My job is to investigate and prosecute who was responsible for the deaths of Shannan, Bella, Celeste, and Nico [Shannan’s unborn child]. We have done that. I have no information nor any belief that any other criminal defendant is out there who is responsible for their death in any way, shape, or form,” he continued.
“Letters From Christopher: The Tragic Confessions of the Watts Family Murders” is due for release on October 7.
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