The video, which was obtained by The Denver Post as well as other outlets, was captured Aug. 15 — the day Watts, 33, was arrested for murdering his 34-year-old wife, Shanann, and the couple’s two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.
“I freaked out, you understand me,” Watts says, after telling his father, Ronnie, a story that investigators have proven is pure fiction: that he choked Shanann to death the morning of Aug. 13, after discovering she’d killed their daughters.
“She hurt them,” Watts says. “And then I freaked out and hurt her.”
“God Almighty, son,” Ronnie replies.
According to an affidavit supporting his arrest that was unsealed in late August, Chris then relayed the story to police, admitting he killed Shanann after flying into “a rage” when, he claimed, he saw her strangling one of their daughters via a baby monitor after he had told her he wanted a separation.
In pleading guilty last week, Chris essentially admitted that explanation was a lie.
The confession came not long after Watts submitted to a polygraph test he failed. Investigators encouraged him to come clean, revealing they knew he’d been having an affair, and Watts asked if he could speak to his dad.
After confessing his crimes to his father, he repeated his confession to detectives.
Before his arrest, Watts spoke to local media, pleading for the safe return of his wife and girls. On Nov. 19, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the three murders.
Shanann Watts’ parents, Frank and Sandra Rzucek, are suing Chris for the wrongful deaths of their grandchildren, daughter, and unborn grandson, Niko. Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.
The suit alleges Watts misled investigators in the days after the murders and made false claims to the detectives and to the media.
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At the time of the murders, Watts was having an affair with Nichol Kessinger, a woman he met through work. Before he was sentenced, prosecutors cited his desire for a “fresh start” with Kessinger as his motive for strangling Shanann and smothering their daughters.
Hours of interrogation footage has also been released. In video from before he spoke to his father and then relayed that story to detectives, Watts consistently denies knowing anything about his family’s disappearance, or how their bodies ended up on a remote oil work site.
In reality, Watts placed the two girls in oil tanks through a hatch that was only eight inches in diameter. Bella had scratches on her body from being shoved through the hatch and a tuft of her hair had been ripped off. Watts then buried Shanann in a shallow grave away from the oil tanks.