The family murderer, 34, is in a 'hell of his own making,' a source tells PEOPLE

By Laura Barcella and Steve Helling
November 06, 2019 03:26 PM

Nov. 6, 2019, marks the one-year anniversary of Chris Watts’ guilty plea to the brutal August 2018 murders of his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two young daughters, Bella and Celeste.

A source tells PEOPLE that the murderer — who has claimed to have found religion in prison — “will reflect on his sins, like he does every day.”

The source adds, “A day doesn’t go by — a minute doesn’t go by — where he doesn’t think about his family.”

After being sentenced to multiple life sentences on Nov. 19, 2018, Watts, 34, proclaimed himself a “servant of God,” writing in a letter to his mother last June, “I’m still a Dad! I’m still a son! No matter what. Now, I can add servant of God to that mix!”

Credit: RJ Sangosti/Pool/Getty

Still, the source tells PEOPLE that Watts is well-aware of the reality of the murders. “It will be over his head for the rest of his life, and there’s no escaping it.”

“The anniversary isn’t going to be any different from any other day, where he’s in his own hell,” the PEOPLE source says. “He realizes that he’s in a hell of his own making, and he has to live with that.”

Credit: Facebook

Last November, Watts pleaded guilty to the August 13, 2018, murders of Shanann, 34, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, the latter of whom would have turned four on July 17, 2019.

In a Feb. 18 interview from inside prison, Watts provided horrifying details of the murders to authorities from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

He said Shanann “may have been” praying as he strangled her to death in their bedroom. He said he then drove his wife’s body to his job site at an oil field, where he buried her in a shallow grave as his young daughters waited in the car. Then he smothered both girls and dumped their bodies in two large oil tanks.

During the confession, Watts said that whenever he closes his eyes, he hears his oldest daughter’s final words begging him not to kill her.

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“Daddy, no!,” Bella reportedly screamed as her father moved in to smother her with the same blanket he’d used to kill her sister Celeste moments before.

“I hear it every day, when Bella was talking to me,” Watts told police. “When she said, ‘Daddy, no!’”

Nichol Kessinger and Chris Watts
| Credit: HLN

Their bodies were found three days later.

The murders occurred after Watts began an affair with coworker Nichol Kessinger, who told police that Watts had lied and said he was separated from Shanann when they started dating.

He is not eligible for parole.