A former prison psychologist says she has developed a close friendship with convicted wife and child killer, Chris Watts
According to a clip of the upcoming Lifetime show, “Cellmate Secrets: Chris Watts,” Christa Richello began writing “fan letters” to Watts after his 2018 conviction of murdering his wife Shanaan, their children, Celeste and Bella, and their unborn son, Nico.
E! News reports that Richello “developed a close and intimate relationship” with Watts, as well as his cellmate Dylan Tallman. Richello is currently engaged to Tallman after she met him through Watts while exchanging letters.
Richello said she was drawn to the Watts case because she had never seen such a high-profile case handled and closed so quickly.
“I found it very odd, the way the case was handled,” Richello said. “I’ve never seen a case in history that somebody took a plea agreement so quickly, a case was completely ended and not investigated.”
“And there’s all these different theories because normally this would be going on in a trial for years, and it was only two months to this plea agreement. And that’s what caught me.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Watts initially denied having anything to do with the disappearance of his wife and daughters, but after failing a lie detector test, claimed he killed Shannan because she had strangled the little girls.
His story has continued to change in the time since he pleaded guilty to the murders in November 2018; he took a plea deal that spared him the death penalty. Months later, he gave a lengthy, detailed interview to Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents, admitting that he murdered Shanann in their marital bed the morning she arrived home from a business trip,
Watts reportedly said that Shanann did not fight back when he murdered her. He had no defensive wounds or bruises.
Watts later admitted that he tried to smother his daughters to death in their beds that morning, but that both later got out of bed, surprising him — and questioning him about what was wrong with their mother, who had already been killed.
Watts said he ultimately smothered his daughters to death later that same morning after driving them to an oil field in Colorado, where he buried Shanann.
Chris Watts’ confession and guilty plea effectively ended the investigation. It meant that Shanann’s family would not have to endure a painful murder trial. It also meant that authorities would not further probe possible inconsistencies in Jennifer Kessinger’s account of events, which she provided to investigators shortly after Shanann and the girls vanished.
Kessinger was identified as the woman Watts had been having an affair with when his wife and children were out of town. Despite online theories about her possible involvement in the murders, Kessinger has never been charged.
“Cellmate Secrets: Chris Watts” premieres June 25 on Lifetime, at 10 p.m.
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[Feature photo: Chris Watts/Handout]
*Additional reporting by Ellen Killoran*