Chris Watts Reaches Plea Deal In Murder Case To Avoid Death Penalty

Clay Curtis
November 7, 2018

A Colorado man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of murdering his pregnant wife and two small daughters and dumping their bodies in an oil field, in an agreement that will spare him the death penalty.

His guilty plea marked the end of a months-long string of lies: First, when claiming his wife and kids had gone missing of their own accord in August and, later, alleging (according to an arrest affidavit) that he strangled Shan'ann in a "rage" after watching her strangle their younger daughter.

Mr Rourke said he flew to North Carolina a few weeks ago to discuss the possible agreement with relatives of Shannan Watts and they signed off on removing the death penalty option.

Watts appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to all nine counts against him, including five counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. A judge set an execution date for him in 2013, but Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a temporary reprieve to postpone his execution.

The girls' bodies were found submerged in an oil tank, and Shanann Watts' body was found in a shallow grave.

"I know that that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four lovely lives". Her parents, Frank Rzucek and Sandra Onorati Rzucek, and her brother, Frankie Rzucek, watched from a front row of the packed courtroom.

"I was not willing to entertain any further concessions above and beyond removing the death penalty", he said.

Because the case is not finished until Watts is sentenced and a judge accepts his guilty plea, Rourke is still not answering questions about the investigation.

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Watts will be sentenced on November 19 and is facing life in prison.

Shanann had returned home from a business trip when she was killed.

Law enforcement believe they know the motive behind the murders, as well, and Rourke said he might speak about it after the sentencing.

When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened".

'No one wins today.

While Rourke said he followed standard procedure in this case, acting no differently despite its notoriety, the clear wishes of Shan'ann's family's were unavoidable.

Still, he cautioned: Though the family was present for Chris' plea and the subsequent presser, they were "not prepared nor do they want to answer questions at this point".

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