Confessed family annihilator Chris Watts has been ordered to pay $6 million to the family of his late wife Shanann Watts, who was murdered along with her two daughter Bella and Celeste in August 2018.
The Denver Post reports that Watts agreed to the terms of a civil lawsuit brought by Shannan’s parents Frank and Sandy Rzucek, filed in 2018 when Watts pleaded guilty to the murders of his wife, daughters, and unborn son; Shannan was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of the killings.
The report notes that the Rzuceks, who have one adult son, will likely not see the money. At the time of the murders, Chris Watts was earning a modest income working for a petroleum company and Shanann appeared to be excelling at her more recent position as a Multi-Level Marketing salesperson, but the family had faced financial struggles, including a bankruptcy filing years before, and had fallen behind on mortgage payments.
An attorney for the Rzuceks had previously told the Denver Post that the family had filed the lawsuit understanding that they would likely never see the full amount, but to collect anything that Watts has and to ensure that he does not profit from the murders should he ever sell the rights to his story or write a book. But the lawsuit reportedly details the debilitating impact the murders had on the family, and suggests they suffered financial losses in addition to the emotional devastation.
“The Rzucek family has not been the same since August 13, 2018,” reads a court document obtained by the Denver Post.
“They have suffered with anger, loneliness, sadness, and depression. For a substantial period of time following the discovery of their daughter and grandchildren’s murders, they were unable to work, leave the house, or even eat.”
According to the repot. Watts did not contest the lawsuit.
“The Defendant stipulates that the death of Shanann, Bella, and Celeste was a tremendous loss to Plaintiffs Franklin Rzucek and Sandra Rzucek and that they have suffered extreme emotional stress and damage as a result of such loss,” reads a document confirming his agreement to pay.
Watts is serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole in a Wisconsin correctional center. His plea agreement meant that he would be spared the death penalty.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.