Family murderer Chris Watts spoke to investigators in prison

By Chris Harris
March 07, 2019 11:43 AM
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As he strangled her, Chris Watts says his pregnant wife Shanann did not fight back, struggle or scream for help. Instead, the 34-year-old mother of his two daughters may have started praying, Watts said in a newly released prison confession.

The Feb. 18 confession of Watts — behind bars for the rest of his life after pleading guilty to the Aug. 13, 2018, slayings of Shanann and the couple’s daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3 — provides chilling new details about the murders and what life was like in the Watts home in the months and years leading up to the killings.

Watts, 33, told investigators from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation he jumped on Shanann, who was on her back in their bed, after he’d told her he didn’t love her, and she threatened him with leaving him and taking the children.

“You’re never gonna see the kids again, you’re never gonna see them again,” Watts claims Shanann told him. As he straddled her, she yelled at him to “get off me,” warning Watts he might “hurt the baby,” a boy they planned to name Nico. That is when “he immediately put both of his hands around Shanann’s neck and strangled her,” reads a report provided to PEOPLE by the CBI.

The Watts family in an undated photo
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Watts spoke to investigators last month from an unspecified penitentiary in Wisconsin, coming clean in vivid detail about his heinous crimes after finding religion behind bars.

Watts said in reading the Bible, he came across the prayer, “Forgive these people for they do not know what they do,” and said “maybe Shanann was saying that in her head at the time.”

“Every time I think about it, I’m just like, did I know I was going to do that before I got on top of her?,” Watts says during the five-hour interview.

He told detectives he has “pictures of his wife and daughters in his prison cell and he talks to them every morning and every night.”

Watts’ cell also contains a book he used to read to his youngest daughter.

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“He reads the book to his daughters, along with some scripture, every night,” the report reads. “He wished it never happened and he never had a blinder over his eyes and could have seen what was going on.”

According to the confession, Watts drove 45 minutes to a remote oil field, with Shanann’s corpse in the bed of the truck and his still-living girls in the backseat.

Each of the girls had their own blanket, he said, and Celeste brought a stuffed animal — a barking dog — along for the trip.

“During the ride, the girls were dozing on and off, held each other, and laid in each other’s laps,” the report reads.

Watts told detectives he wasn’t thinking clearly during the drive. “If I was thinking, this wouldn’t have happened, or any partial hint of what I feel for those girls and what I feel for my wife, then none of this would have happened. So I wasn’t thinking.”

Before burying Shanann in a shallow grave, Watts said he smothered Celeste, who went by CeCe, in the backseat, inches from Bella. After dumping Celeste’s body in an old field, he returned to smother Bella, who begged for her life.

“Bella asked him in her soft voice, ‘Is the same thing gonna happen to me as Cece?'” reads the report. “He is not sure if he told Bella ‘yes’ like a horrible person.”

As he went to kill her, Bella screamed, “Daddy, No!” and “it was the last words she spoke,” the report reads.

In November, Watts pleaded guilty to all three killings. He is currently serving five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Watts was having an affair with a co-worker at the time of the killings. Authorities have cited his desire for a “fresh start” with his mistress as his motive.