It was inevitable that by shifting the Watts case out of a criminal court through a plea deal, that such a high-profile case would “play out” in the court of public opinion. That’s still happening. The fact that Shan’ann’s public Facebook page provided enormous insight to the media, public, and true crime writers and researchers, meant it was inescapable that this case would gain tremendous traction on social media, especially Facebook. One could argue this is the world’s first high-profile “social media” case.
A criminal trial could have done tremendous good in clearing the air on a host of issues. The Rzuceks elected to pursue the plea deal, though it’s still not completely clear why. The death sentence was never going to be carried out. If the Rzuceks hoped to spare themselves the strain of a high-profile trial, it seems one year on that hasn’t really happened.
One year on, a lot of uncertainty and contradiction still dogs the Watts case, in spite of the huge tranches of discovery and digital files released to the public by Weld County over the past several months.
[Rzucek] said social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have allowed lies and conspiracy theories about the murders to spread.
That’s generally true, of course. Social media is a hot mess of confusion. It’s hardly specific to the Watts case. But this obviously raises the question, what is the truth regarding this case? Is the truth the version the Rzuceks have?
If the Rzuceks are serious about wanting the case to die down, and wanting to avoid the unpleasantness on social media, they ought to stay completely out of the public eye, stop giving interviews [on Dr. Phil etc], and simply avoid social media, which in theory is fairy simple to do.
It’s interesting that just three weeks short of the anniversary, Rzucek traveled to Frederick to stand in front of the Watts home and gave his press conference, flanked on both sides by lawyers. He didn’t need to do that. Wouldn’t it have been easier, cheaper and just as effective to make the same statement from North Carolina?