When retired Detective Karen Smith went on HLN on October 4th, she didn’t go further than to say Shan’ann probably didn’t hide her phone behind the couch cushions, Chris Watts did. He put it there.
True, but if he did, then what?
Assuming he testifies in court, Chris Watts might say:
- Shan’ann and him sat on the couch for a few minutes while having a civilized conversation early that morning. They were discussing his idea of a separation when the phone slipped out of her pocket…
- Another possibility is that there was a tussle right there, and that the phone fell between the cushions between an altercation. Since the children’s bedroom is upstairs, and Chris Watts’ version contends that he went from downstairs back upstairs to confront her after seeing her on the baby monitor strangling the children, the upstairs landing area makes sense.
- In the same way that Casey Anthony fielded a second defense long after the investigation started, Chris Watts might claim he pushed Shan’ann and she fell down the stairs. In other words, he killed her but “it was an accident”.
What’s the view of #tcrs?
According to the arrest affidavit, the phone was left behind in the loft area between the upstairs bedrooms in the loft area.
There appear to be two large cushions, grey and white [or tan] on the leather couch.
Where did HLN source their image of the couch? The “decor” in that image reappears elsewhere in the house too as indicated by the red arrows above.
Without an accurate floor plan it’s difficult to be absolutely certain whether the area indicated is the loft or not, and thus whether this couch is the right couch. But let’s assume for the sake of argument, the information HLN has and the location for Shan’ann’s phone is correct.
The sketch in TWO FACE BENEATH THE OIL provides a detailed explanation for where the crime scene happened [where Shan’ann was killed]. It’s not upstairs.
If the sketch is correct, then it suggests after committing the crime, Chris Watts went upstairs with Shan’ann’s phone and put it under the cushions in the area closest to the landing; there it could be plausibly present but nevertheless hidden from plain sight.
A much murkier question is: did Chris intend for her phone to be found, or was he planning on discarding it later? If he planned to get rid of it, why didn’t he dump it during his long outbound trip before dawn to CERVI 319? There was clearly the opportunity, and no one to see what he was doing, so why not?
Also: why not destroy the phone?
It’s unclear whether her phone was on or off [Nickole Atkinson might know], but if Watts wanted to delay discovery, then he probably knew her phone needed to be around to mislead people that she was still alive. Sometimes Facebook and WhatsApp can lead [or be used to lead] friends and followers to believe someone is online or around when they’re not, the phone is simply on.
In the Scott Peterson case Laci’s phone was found in her car, not turned off. The battery had run down over several hours. Scott Peterson seemed well aware that by calling Laci he was allowing himself to be tracked not only by cellphone tower pings, but by leaving messages. He appeared to do this deliberately to establish plausible deniability.
There is another possibility too. Perhaps Watts’ original plan was to return home and to send messages from her phone, leading others to believe not just that Shan’ann was alive when she wasn’t, but perhaps that she was going somewhere, or would be going offline for a period, when she was already dead.
Since Chris Watts said he sent several messages to Shan’ann’s phone when he knew she was dead, it makes sense that the idea of leaving misleading digital breadcrumbs must have occurred to him [just as it did to Jodi Arias, Oscar Pistorius, Casey Anthony and the murderer of Meredith Kercher*].
And just as it makes sense for him to say he saw what was happening on the baby monitor while downstairs [in other words, he wasn’t upstairs when the children were murdered], by placing her phone upstairs, he also places her elsewhere to where he probably was when she was killed.
If Shan’ann was murdered at the foot of the stairs, then a claim that she’d fallen down and landed beneath the stairs would also pass the evidentiary test.
QUESTION: Where do you think the murders took place, and why? #tcrs
*On the same night Kercher was murdered, Knox and Sollecito [the original suspects and both twice convicted in the murder] both turned off their cell phones. In addition Kercher’s two phones were removed from her room and disposed of outside the house. It later transpired that someone had attempted to use her phone to hack into her British telephone banking account. Only someone very familiar with Kercher would have known about this account. #tcrs investigated the Knox case in a series of narratives, licking off with Despicable.