Colorado man pleads guilty to murdering pregnant wife and two daughters

Dad accused of killing wife, kids pleads guilty to gruesome murders

Christopher Watts, the Frederick man accused of killing his wife and young daughters, pleaded guilty to murder, the judge said on Tuesday.

Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to each of the nine counts he faces, including three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation and two counts of first-degree murder of a victim under the age of 12 in a position of trust for the August deaths of his wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, according to Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke.

Watts replied "guilty" nine times in response to Judge Marcelo Kopcow's reading of each charge.

In the immediate aftermath of his August 15 arrest, Watts struggled with depression in jail and was "despondent", a source told People magazine at the time.

Shanann's parents Frank and Sandra Rzucek are pictured at the press conference after his hearing on Tuesday.

Watts said in court he is satisfied with his defense representation and is knowingly accepting this plead deal.

Their bodies were found hidden in a Colorado oil field, news accounts say, with Shannan Watts buried in a shallow grave and the girls dumped into an oil tank. The bodies were found the week Watts was arrested.

Investigators discovered Watts was "actively involved in an affair with a co-worker", which he had denied during an earlier interview.

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Watts initially told police he strangled his wife in a rage because, after the couple had argued, she killed their two girls.

'That to me was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed in this a case.

Rourke said at a press conference that the plea deal was made with the support of Shanann Watts' family, and after he explained what he called the "extraordinary delays that now exist" in Colorado in putting prisoners to death. He said the family was strongly against pursuing the death penalty, especially after they discussed the extensive delays in the process in Colorado.

As part of the deal, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the first four counts - murder.

"I know that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four attractive lives".

"The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann - falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie - has been corrected", Rourke said.

When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened". "I never wanted to stand up and have a press conference like this".

Shanann Watts' mother, father and brother were in court Tuesday but chose not to speak to the media.

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