#47 Tuesday August 21st, 2018: Chris Watts formally charged with the murders of his wife and two daughters #1yearagotodayCW

Over the weekend, a weekend that was supposed to be spent celebrating a gender reveal, before changing that to a romantic marriage-saving break in Aspen, instead a candlelight vigil was held outside 2825 Saratoga Trail. This vigil was held to remember Shan’ann, Bella and Ceecee, whose bodies had been recovered at an Anadarko well site earlier in the week. They had been missing since Monday morning.

Hundreds gathered on the lawn of the big brown house as the sun was setting on Saturday afternoon.

Whatever Watts’ plans for his mistress, he spent his weekend in jail, while Nichol Kessinger enjoyed her final weekend of anonymity. No one knew then that Watts even had a mistress.

By Monday, when the warrantless arrest affidavit revealed as much, her goose was cooked.  [She would have a few additional days grace before her name began to blitz through social media].

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Weld County and Watts’ defense counsel also worked feverishly over the weekend. By Monday they had prepared 63 motions between them.

Fullscreen capture 20190820 141336 It should be noted when Watts appeared in court [this would be his second of a total of only four appearances], he denied killing his children, but was charged with their murders regardless. This must have seemed like a cruel blow to Watts, who may have believed – until a certain point – that Coder and Lee had believed his lies.

In any event, the arrest affidavit and the charges made it clear what the authorities actually believed. Briefly, they accused Watts of the premeditated murder [acting after deliberation] of his wife and children, and accused him of committing all three crimes at his home  before transporting their bodies to the oil site. The affidavit suggested that the crimes were committed in one or several of the bedrooms upstairs.

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Once the preliminary hearing was concluded on Tuesday morning, in the Division 5 court, the Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke introduced himself to the media and held a brief press conference. Shan’ann’s father, who’s grief was written over his face throughout the hearing, made a short statement to the media as well, reading from a small scrap of yellow paper [possibly taken from a legal pad].

By the end of the day the Chris Watts case was the highest-profile true crime case in America, and the community believed a criminal trial [possibly involving a death penalty] was a foregone conclusion. Shan’ann’s younger brother’s angry rants on social media also seemed to confirm the likelihood of a criminal trial as a foregone conclusion.

More: Christopher Watts blames his wife for daughters’ killings, court documents say – CBS

Chris Watts case: Read the full arrest affidavit compiled by Colorado investigators, FBI – ABC Action News

Chris Watts case: What we learned from unsealed affidavit – CNN

Chris Watts charged with murder, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in deaths of wife, daughters – The Denver Channel

18CR2003 The People of the State of Colorado v. Christopher Lee Watts – Courts.State.co.us

Warrantless Arrest Affidavit – Courts.State.co.us

19 thoughts on “#47 Tuesday August 21st, 2018: Chris Watts formally charged with the murders of his wife and two daughters #1yearagotodayCW

    • I have been in contact with him via a third party. I invited him to answer a particular question, in a letter, and offered to publish his handwritten response/s in a separate chapter in a 10th book. I was informed on August 13th that he didn’t wish to answer any questions. It was the same day I published this post.

      https://crimerocket.com/2019/08/13/one-year-after-committing-triple-murder-chris-watts-says-hes-tormented-by-hes-whats-hes-done-hes-not/

      I wouldn’t be interested in talking to Watts, but I hope Coder and Lee follow-up on a few lingering inconsistencies.

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      • Well said . “A few lingering inconsistencies” are what’s keeping me from moving on from this case. I just can’t let it go. I’m hoping that the FBI Is still looking into others that may be involved. I understand it is in the best interest of Weld County and the D.A. to consider this case a done deal, case closed, especially with Anadarko being a major employer in the area. I know it can take a very long time to get enough evidence gathered that will stand up in court. I do believe it’s still possible for more information to be revealed regarding others. We just recently got the second set of discovery which caused interest in this case to spike again.

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  1. Thank you for all you do.

    I took a break from this case for a few weeks and have come back to it with a fresh perspective and relistened to quite a few things I had heard hundreds of times before, almost daily.

    However, with a fresh mind, a few things kept popping up in my head, particularly around his initial confession:

    1. Against what I used to think, I now believe that his initial confession was closer to the truth.

    I believe family a friends were funneling information to him about the videos circulating online and he found it as a way to easily make his second, more thought out, confession fit the supposed “evidence”. I still leave the possibility that one child was alive but at this point, I believe everyone was attacked inside the home. Why commit a crime out in the open where you greatly increase the risk of being seen?

    2. One of the reasons I believe #1 is a small detail i noticed in his confession to his dad. I am not an expert on lying, speech patterns or body language so much of this is intuition but sometimes I think you can “just tell” when someone is speaking words of truth vs lying, particularly with Chris Watts.

    One thing I’ve leanred through listening to Behavior Analysis Expert, Jim Clemente is that when someone is being honest, they will often “act out” or simulate with movement what they were doing or experienced and provide specific detail. Someone lying may not do this because they are not speaking from a place of a real, true memory.

    I believe there are two specific parts where CW provides some interesting “at the crime scene” details.

    The first is how vividly he describes Cece’s body, particularly her head, after she’s deceased.

    He says:

    “She was already blue, she wasn’t moving, her head just hanging over like that.” As he says this, he proceeds to bring his hands closer together, as if to simulate holding it or the tinyness of her body. He also uses the term, “like that” which leads me to believe he is describing something he specifically saw. There is no particular reason to add that extra phrase and people that are lying will often try to avoid phrasing that gets so specific.

    Another phrase he states later on is one where he catches himself before continuing because I believe he did not want to provide these extra specific details. CW does a decent job of leaving out enough specifics to keep one unsure of what actually happened. He tells you part of the story while omitting certain specifics. I believe these obvious omissions are from statements that are at least sonewhat truthful, otherwise, i see no reason to omit details of a lie.

    One detail he seems to slip up on his implying that Shanann was moved and not murdered in her bed.

    Detective Coder asks,

    “Did you ever go into Bella’s room?” Chris responds quickly and affirmatively, “After I put Shanann back in..” As he is saying this, he abruptly changes course and starts describing Bella on the monitor “…I just know, I saw her on the monitor, the way she was laying in the bed just sprawled out”.

    Two things here. I believe with the description of movement (“put Shanann back in”) as well as how quickly he begans to state this before he stops himself is indication that we are possibly getting to some truth. One would assume “back in” means bed but in his second confession he states he killed her in bed, therefore, why would you go back and move her.

    His description of Bella could go both ways for me, lie or truthfulness, but it is tough to tell. “Sprawled” out is fairly descriptive as opposed to other words you could use but its tough to analyze word choice.

    However, I do believe there is some merit to when someone begins to describe something and then obviously stops themselves.

    Curious what others may think.

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  2. I’m sorry Barry but I think whatever Watts said about the murder – confession 1, 2, 3, is all lies. Watching Ron Watts in the room with Watts (good audio this time) he was a pretty good interrogator. His manner is very soft spoken, but he said several things I hadn’t made note of before, possibly because the audio was so bad. Ron Watts says “she lost it over the separation – or the affair?” Watts stammers a non-answer about her just knowing, and that the crying happened, and it was emotional, etc. Ron says “I thought you told her before – about the separation?” Good follow up! If Watts told Shan’ann about a separation before, then why would this make her so distraught she would run into the girls room and strangled them. Watts only whimpers an answer to this one. Then the zinger, to me. Ron says “she was open to going to counseling – but she lost it?” I hadn’t noticed before, but Ron Watts surely knew his son was lying, and he was a pretty good detective imo.

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  3. Chris noticed Shanann’s eyes were bloodshot before dropping her in the hole.

    1. Why did he look into her eyes?
    2. What made him drop her head-first into the hole?
    3. Why didn’t he leave the sheet on her?

    If I read it right, her face was at the bottom of the hole, which means her neck had to be hyperextended, then her body in the fetal position with her toes closest to the surface, inches from the soil surface. How did he get her into that position? Why did he position her like that? I don’t think that would be the normal way a body would fall when rolled into a grave/hole. Did he remove the sheet so she would decompose faster?

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    • Thanks for your questions Sam.

      I suspect a) he killed her in that position [him behind her] and b) placed her in the truck in that position. When he buried her he didn’t want to “confront” her, remember digging and burying takes a while, and while he was working he didn’t want her “looking” at him. He didn’t want to see her face or her pregnant stomach.

      It’s not known exactly when the postmortem fetal expulsion [“coffin birth”] happened, but according to Watts it hadn’t happened by the time he buried her. This is likely true, as it typically happens between 48 and 72 hours after death.

      More info here:

      https://allthatsinteresting.com/coffin-births

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  4. It’s certainly okay to disagree. Polite debate is what’s missing in the world right now.

    The reason I don’t believe that they are all lies has to do with human nature and tendencies. In that moment, Watts is well aware of the evidence and still trying to save himself. He likely has a good idea of what the police uncovered at the home as well as his electronic footprint via cell phone, GPS and Vivint.

    Often times, guilty parties will adjust their lies to diminish their involvement by weaving their narrative within the context of the evidence they are aware of. One has to assume Chris is doing some of this, even if just partly. To me, there are to many subtle things he says with great confidence and much differently than when he’s obviously lying. These are possibly little kernels of truth we can latch on to in order to build a hypothesis of what happened. If evidence contradicts that narrative, then we scratch it out and move on.

    However, one must assume that sprinkled within some of what he says is actual truths. I think of it as points on a map. There are some points which are non-negotiable landmarks that we know took place, such as Shanann and Children being placed in the truck, Shanann changing (even possibly getting into bed), what time Chris loaded the truck, the basement door being opened at some point and Chris must know these and try to weave his statement into this. However, that doesn’t mean that he is not adding additional truthful landmarks that we must be keen enough to identify.

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    • Shanann changing (even possibly getting into bed)>>>I wouldn’t call this a non-negotiable landmark, to use your term. But you’re right, it’s never all lies, it’s fiction and truth, with a lot of fiction lined up to look like obvious facts. The trick is knowing the difference not only in one case, but from one case and one criminal psychology to the next. Some people pick it up, some never do.

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    • One thing he knew Barry, was that he didn’t put his hands around his children’s necks – otherwise his attorney’s, in his behalf, wouldn’t have been so bold to request swabs from their throats to analyze. I agree, there is some fiction and some truth in all lies. Some times people embellish. Make the story even grander than it is to give the lie some plausibility. Watts also wanted to confuse issues. They had argued about a separation. They likely did, but not on August 13 between the hours of 2-4:30 a.m. How many times getting ready for work did he go downstairs to fix lunch, then head back upstairs. Many times. That was truth – it doesn’t necessarily mean he did that August 13.

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  5. When Grahm or Tammy, not sure which, asks Chris if he put the girls in the tanks alive, Chris says “no, no, oh god no, no.” His voice cracks and he sounds emotional. In my opinion, for a moment he had doubt, like maybe they were alive. Had he killed them before Shanann got home, or even if he killed them at the house he would have known without a doubt they were dead. This leads me to believe he did kill them just before putting them in the tank, and for a moment he wondered if he put live girls into that oil, and that caused him a moment of distress. After all, in his own words, he’s not cold hearted and he’s not a monster.

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  6. I am agreeing with Barry. Where there are moments of truth, that’s when Chris shows some emotion. When he’s reciting fiction, there’s no emotion. He definitely has emotion when talking about those oil tanks.

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  7. I think that Chris’s impassioned and immediate response to whether he put The girls in the tanks alive was perhaps one of the very few moments of complete truth in the entire several hours of interviews. He responded immediately and with more passion and certainty than anything else I can recall when hearing him speak, from the ‘sermons on the porch’ to the second round of interviews in Feb. He was able to answer readily and without hesitation because it was the truth. In my opinion, when he is speaking haltingly, hesitating and pausing he is calculating in his mind the implications of different things he could say in answer to what is being asked. I believe that is one reason he says “like” so much. It’s a filler word he can use to fill the time while he plots and calculates in his mind the implications of what he might say next, as well as not cast suspicion on anyone else he may be trying to protect. I think his impassioned answer was because he would never Kill his babies in such a Brutal way, dumping them alive in hot oil, because he is a non confrontational person and will always choose the path of least resistance. In my opinion He killed them In a way they would never know they were being killed. They drank a shake and went to sleep forever, still believing that Daddy loved them.

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  8. I think the kids were still alive when Shannan got home. Almost all moms would check on the kids after a long trip ( I still do that even though mine are 15 & 17). If he did kill the kids before Shannan got home, he would have to kill her as soon as she got in the house. If so he would have plenty of time to fix up the house, make the bed…get rid off all the evidences, get all bodies ready and it wouldn’t take him that long to load up all the bodies on his truck in the early morning Maybe Shannan went to bed, could or couldn’t sleep, and confronted him again. They could possibly get into a big argument/fight. She could tick him off easily by telling him that she would fight for anything & everything including custody, he would be nobody without her….etc. Now that he had a way out with NK who he’s madly in “ love” with but if & only if…without the “after math” of a nasty divorce which would leave him no $. He knew damn well that “hot & spicy” NK would drop him in no time if he had no money left. I think it’s a premeditated/planned murder even though he might not be ready to do it that night yet. After he killed Shannan…probably out of rage….he got no choice but to kill his kids also whether the kids saw anything he did to their mom or not. I think the girl might have seen part of it and they are both old enough to tell what they’ve seen. He can’t just leave them alive even if he wants to. How is he going to get rid of her body, make up things about her disappearance…without the kids. His life would be like hell taking care of the 2 girls without Shannan and NK would leave him in no time. Very sad story! He had lost everything but his own life, hadn’t he?

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  9. Whether he had planed to get rid of his entire family or not (ie. premeditated murder) nobody knows for sure. I believe he did. However, by saying “out of rage”, I just simply meant…he might not ready to do it yet on that day but who knows. A very stupid person like him probably thought that he got such a perfect plan and for sure would get away with it.

    The 2 little girls might be still alive on his truck. They probably whined a lot being waken up that early and cried a lot seeing no response from their beloved mom who had been away for a few days. It would drive him nuts too. He definitely didn’t want to take care of them at all…without their mom. He purposely put each girl in a separate tank thinking ahead….in case of someday someone discovers the remains of a little body…it would make it harder to link it to this case. He think he’s smart. His “low level of confidence” all of a sudden got boosted by a faking & desperate man-seeking NK. How coward, how brutal & how heartless….a man/husband/father could be! I certainly think if he could put Shannan in one of those tanks, he would. Being a field operator…he knows damn well how nasty & “corrosive” & hot crude oil is… coming out of the ground. Their bodies would be “disintegrated/dissolved” in no time. He is much worse than animals of any kinds. The worst part is….he has never shown any remorse…..

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    • I think the evidence supports that he did plan to get rid of his entire family.
      1. He did research on lethal doses of OxyContin.
      2. When he spoke about missing Bella & Celeste, his “sentimental” story was an extremely odd and jarring choice. He told a story of them throwing chicken nuggets at him (he said this a few times on the police body cams). I think this was an odd choice for a memory when his kids are missing because the theme of the story is his children treating him poorly and humiliating him, in this situation I would expect a more positive memory.
      3. In my opinion, the idea that the girls were alive in the truck with their mothers dead body in the back seat is completely unrealistic. When he talks about how they were “taking turns laying with their heads in each other’s laps”, in my opinion, that is “Chrisspeak” for the fact that they were dead and he just piled them next to each other in the backseat.
      4. His mortgage was 3 months overdue at the Time of the murders, I believe that here in the US, with 3 months overdue mortgage you will be evicted from your home, physically, if necessary so I do believe that the clock was ticking if he wanted to have a fresh start with his new love.
      5. The letter that he wrote that his sister Jamie was holding (“if anything happens to me, look at my wife”), in my opinion shows premeditation.

      I don’t agree that he is stupid. I think he appears that way at times because of various developmental/emotional/psychological problems that have been diagnosed numerous times on U-tube, but in fact was known by his peers and former instructors as being quite brilliant with incredible gift for memorization. However, I do agree that he is a heartless coward and that his confidence was boosted by his Mistress.

      He does show remorse. If you believe him in the second round of interviews that took place in Wisconsin in Feb., where he talks about crying in his cell. That rings true to me and I believe that.

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