True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Chris Watts: A Plea Deal is Definitely on the Cards

Speculation is swirling that the irregular moving up of the Watts hearing from November 19th to November 6th involves a plea deal. There’s plenty of reason to believe this speculation is well founded.

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Chris Watts’ first court appearance was on August 17th, followed by his last court appearance to date on August 21st. His next court appearance was meant to be approximately three months later. Now it’s been moved up by two weeks, falling on the same day as the mid-term elections in America, and what’s more, the time [at 14:00] means media coverage after midday will swamp all over coverage.

The hearing is also scheduled to be short, just 30 minutes, quick enough to raise and brush the legalities under the carpet without anyone noticing, and without the media being able to do much with any reporting that does happen.

One wonders what will happen to the autopsy reports? Are these also going to remain under seal permanently just like the Ramsey case file 22 years later?

Strangely, the District Attorney’s office has provided no reasons why this status hearing needed to be moved in the first place. But maybe providing no reasons is all part of the plan.

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The Chris Watts case is poised to become one of the most high-profile cases in America right now, a scenario certain vested legal and business interests would like to avoid if they possibly can. The links between the Watts case and the Ramsey case aren’t incidental either.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to point out that Frederick, Colorado is just 31 minute’s drive [22 miles] due East of Boulder, and Greeley [where the Weld County Court is located] is also nearby – 53.8 miles north east of Boulder.

Boulder has made a name for itself over the past two decades and counting as a legal dead-end for the JonBenet Ramsey case, arguably one of the most famous and high-profile cases in the world. It never went to trial and the efforts to get legal closure on that case appear to be ongoing [but doomed] to the present day.


About two months after the murders, the Times-Call quoted Boulder’s former District Attorney Stan Garnett at length on the Watts case:

Defense attorneys for a Frederick man accused of killing his wife and daughters have filed a motion asking the government to investigate whether the prosecution has made extrajudicial statements or tried to prevent the spread of prejudicial information.

While the motion itself does not appear on the Weld County District Court’s website,court order asking the prosecution to respond to the motion was recently posted after being filed on Aug. 29. Stan Garnett, the former district attorney for Boulder County, said it is not unusual for the defense to raise such issues early on, especially in high-profile cases.

The case of Christopher Watts, 33, is certainly high profile, having garnered national headlines for weeks…While it’s standard to point out potential to prejudice a jury , Garnett said the wording of the motion — requiring “the government” to investigate the issue — is unusual. It raises an issue, as the district attorney’s office is part of the executive branch of the state. “If you’re asking them to be investigated, who would do it?” Garnett said.

The prosecution had until Sept. 5 to file a response to the motion, though a response is not yet included on the case’s page online. While the court case is still in its early stages and little information has been released, a number of news outlets have reported new details on the case, citing “sources close to the investigation.” It’s doubtful many more details will be released before Christopher Watts’ next court appearance on Nov. 19.

Krista Henery, community relations director for the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, said staff members in her office are following court orders. Prosecutors are required to follow the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, which forbids them from saying something outside of court that could create prejudice in a legal proceeding. Other than charging documents and press conferences discussing the arrest affidavit, the district attorney hasn’t released any more information.

Frederick police Detective Dave Baumhover said the department also has a policy against making extrajudicial statements. Henery and Baumhover said they can’t speak for other agencies involved in the case, which include the FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI declined to comment on the issue and referred questions to the district attorney and Frederick police. CBI did not return a phone call seeking comment. However, if anyone from the prosecution is making extrajudicial statements, Garnett said the onus would fall on the district attorney, who is tasked with ensuring law enforcement complies with the rules.

The 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case that spurred the creation of such rules — Sheppard v. Maxwell— ended in an overturned murder conviction due to the pervasive publicity and incriminating information not presented at trial. In that case, prosecutors were “just kinda constantly playing to the press on it,” Garnett said, which is why district attorneys are now careful about what they say outside of court. “What the rules are trying to do is strike a balance between protecting the defendant’s right to be tried by an impartial jury and the public’s right to know,” he said.

It all sounds very reasonable, but so did District Attorney Alex Hunter when he was handling the Ramsey case. 22 years later, Hunter is still making excuses while he should not be involved in ongoing lawsuits related the case he played a key role in shutting down the legal process in 2000.

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Why would it be necessary to shut down a high-profile criminal trial in Greeley? Surely it has nothing to with the odds of getting a conviction. In the Watts case, law enforcement have a confession for one of the murders, how much more would they need?

I don’t believe the Ramsey case was shut down because of lack of evidence or lack of confidence, but that that case would be bad for business. I won’t go into detail here about what that meant [in terms of the Ramsey case], but I will say what it means in the Watts case.

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Just as the unspoken backstory to the Ramsey case was John Ramsey’s massive billion dollar business empire with links to Lockheed Martin [America and the world’s largest defense contractor], the Watts case involves links to one of the most lucrative shale operations in America and the world. Most important Weld County is the number one producer of oil and gas in Colorado.

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Does Colorado want a high-profile case in their midst that’s going to direct massive publicity [and negative publicity] not only onto Weld County, but through CERVI 319 onto the dynamics of the in situ oil industry as a whole?

What’s more, the landowners at and neighboring CERVI 319 are the two largest ranchers in the County, Art Guttersen and the Cervi dynasty. They wouldn’t want adverse publicity either.

A plea deal coming this Tuesday is very definitely on the cards.

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plea agreement means settlement of case without main hearing when the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge or for a more lenient sentence and/or for dismissal of certain related charges.



  1. Cheryl

    In much the same way that the fracking industry chemicals saturate the soil and watershed in and around Frederick, so does the pyramid-scheme MLM industry permeate Shan’ann’s Facebook postings and upside-down finances. Both businesses are lucrative enterprises whose carefully crafted benificent images stand to suffer due to their exposure during a trial. Like the “No Trespassing” signs that bar access to the Guttersen Ranch/Anadarko fracking fields where Chris worked and where Shan’ann and her children were discarded, so will the public likely be shut out from this case. A potentially interesting development but disheartening. As said here, the not-too-distant echos of the Ramsey case can be heard. Tuesday, November 6 will be interesting in so many respects.

  2. Pauline

    This is a status hearing, a chance to review the status of the case, any discovery (evidence), a review of motions filed, trial dates possible and yes, plea offers. The prosecutors do not have to accept any plea offer they don’t want to accept and I am sure it has already been discussed with the Rzucek family what will be acceptable and what won’t.

    • nickvdl

      I’m not suggesting the prosecutors will be offered a plea, but that the prosecutors will be offering it. In effect, a plea deal will suit Le-Vel, Anadarko and Weld County as a whole including the entire legal/business fraternity there, just as was the case in Boulder with Access Graphics + Lockheed Martin.

  3. Pauline

    Perhaps, but the district attorney’s office and the state of Colorado will not be making the same mistakes Alex Hunter or Mary Lacy’s office did yea these many years ago. LeVel is really just another pissant MLM company, it’s not even in the top ten. And if the heat gets on any of these MLM’s they simply start marketing in other countries – China, Viet Nam, anywhere else they can get a foothold. Anadarko has already been sued for something they were directly responsible for. In this case they distanced themselves from their employee, Chris Watts by firing him immediately. It’s just my opinion but the only plea deal the DA will be offering Watts will involve taking the death penalty off the table, not because he doesn’t deserve it, but because it will be a more difficult case to prosecute and more costly to the state of Colorado.

    • nickvdl

      Wow. You seem to think the DA made a mistake 22 years ago and won’t do it again. The “mistake” has been perpetuated for 22 years. That’s not a mistake!

  4. Karen

    It isn’t like Chris’s Watts would ever confess to killing Bella and Celeste because its true and the right thing to do, but if they give him a plea deal to say he did do it to get a lesser sentence then all those idiots that believe him now will never know the real truth and they’ll always think Shanann did it and that’s just messed up!

    • nickvdl

      There’s not much difference practically speaking between 1 life sentence and 3. In the Van Breda axe murder case concluded just a few months ago, Henri was convicted on all 3 counts of premeditated murder of axing his parents and older brother. He was also convicted of attempted murder of his sister, and defeating the ends of justice. That’s 5 sentences but what it amounts to in the end is just 1 life term.

  5. Spock

    For once I’m going to be the optimist and not the cynic. I feel inspired.

    Almost zero comparison to the Ramsey case.
    1. Watts is not wealthy – (this is the most important difference)
    2. Weld County is the polar opposite of Boulder County
    3. Rourke is a real prosecutor – Hunter never prosecuted anyone (literally never)
    4. Le-Vel is a complete non-starter for the prosecution in this case
    5. Anadarko is the political polar opposite of Lockheed Martin
    6. A confession was not present in the Ramsey case.
    7. An innocent grieving family (the Rzuceks) was not present in the Ramsey case.

    In my mind the two cases have way more differences than similarities. Anadarko is the only company that would wield any power in Weld County and they didn’t blow anyone up or burn anyone down. (Which is what they usually do). So even though a plea deal would be beneficial to them their exposure is limited.
    The use of their name could be limited in a trial. They would also position themselves as the hero coming to the rescue of the police. (Which they’ve already done).
    Ramsey money (possibly backed by Lockheed Martin/Access Graphics) was Alex Hunter’s fear. He would’ve had to face the dream team from hell without clear and convincing evidence.

    The one real advantage to a plea deal is Weld County saving millions of dollars on a trial. If Rourke offers a plea deal it’s going to be to take the death penalty off the table. I doubt they (or the Rzuceks) will settle for anything less than life in prison.
    For the defense to accept that deal, Rourke has got to be holding all the cards. (Which might be why we haven’t seen the autopsy).

    If a plea deal is in the cards it’s because Rourke is holding a royal flush.

    • nickvdl

      Hope you’re right, because I’d like to see a trial.

      But Le-Vel’s involvement wouldn’t be part of the prosecution’s case. It would pull strings silently from a distance. Chris Watts was also a Le-Vel promoter. Same with Anadarko. It’s guilt and damaging PR by association.

      I’ve also sketched out in this post the strange circumstances and the strange concealment of information which even the defense team can’t abide. Do you really think that’s about tainting witnesses? Lawyers commenting on this case have been clear in saying that makes no sense.

      So if it’s not about suppressing information, what’s your theory on it? Just good legal practice? Or just a random date change?

      With respect I don’t think you have a clue about the legal chummy system in the Ramsey case. It wasn’t as much about Ramsey money and resources but the Boulder legal community’s money and dealings.That’s the business relationship parallel I’m referring to. It was also about maintaining political power. You think Weld County’s primary revenue stream doesn’t impact the livelihoods and political careers of everyone that matters in this story?

      • nickvdl

        An innocent grieving family (the Rzuceks) was not present in the Ramsey case.

        >>>Actually there was. The Whites, in fact there were many, many innocent victims in the Ramsey case. And what’s likely to make a difference here is a large-ish civil settlement as happened in the OJ case with Fred Goldman.

        • Spock

          The Whites didn’t lose a family member to murder. They had their reputations tarnished by the Ramseys. Hardly a comparison to the Rzuceks who lost their daughter and 3 grandchildren.

          • nickvdl

            I expected exactly this sort of asinine response. The Whites were implicated as suspects, and Fleet I believe was tarnished as a possible pedophile. He was a victim of the crime, and if you bothered to read any of the links I provided, you may have seen how strenuously he tried to pursue justice. He was actually at the scene of the crime, and because he was there when the victim was found, was both a crucial witness and a suspect. As you say, hardly a comparison – case goes unsolved for 22 years, he wants closure but it’s not like he lost anything…just a piffly thing called a reputation.

          • Spock

            My asinine response would also include the fact that the White’s were not consulted and represented by the prosecution as the Rzuceks will be.
            The Whites had no where near the legal/moral standing that the Rzuceks have. Why?
            Reputation vs 4 dead people. No contest.

            The Whites and Santa Claus and several others had their reputations destroyed by the Ramsey machine. (I didn’t need your links – already aware of that devastation). But I stand by my asinine response that there was no where near the damage caused to the Whites that has been inflicted upon the Rzuceks.

      • nickvdl

        A confession was not present in the Ramsey case.

        >>>The Ramsey Ransom Note was almost as good as a confession. Paper and pens matched to a pad in the house and so on.

        • Spock

          Damning evidence – I agree but not a confession. You’re comparing evidence proving the ransom note was written in the house to “I strangled her.” There was no confession in the Ramsey case.

          • nickvdl

            So more anal nitpicking. You hold up Chris Watts’ confession as if it’s sufficient to convict him in a court of law. Uh, he confessed, case closed. Have you heard of justifiable homicide? A confession where there is a justifiable homicide doesn’t mean you’re found guilty of a crime. That is exactly what his affidavit is angling towards, and exactly the reason why he raises the implicit defense that his wife strangling his children set him off on a rage. I don’t know if you’re sophisticated enough to see the link between someone writing a ransom note to cover for someone else and this, but it’s premised on the same idea of justifiable homicide [in the criminal’s mind]. In any event, I see you want to argue every point, and that’s just a waste of my time. Do you want to try to figure out unknowns with a systematic scenario that ties things together, or just randomly throw out the first thought that occurs to you, maybe to entertain yourself and pass the time?

          • nickvdl

            I think if you knew the Ramsey cannon you’d know about Detective Steve Thomas’ theory – that whoever wrote the Ransom Note killed JonBenet. If you use logic – the Ransom Note was written by someone who knew the killer. So what was the note designed to do? Mislead. Just like the confession in the Watts case. It also represents [I think] a bogus killer and a bogus statement about it. It *is* a confession [we have your daughter] even if the confession isn’t honest.

      • Spock

        Boulder Colorado appeared on the map of the world because of the weird case of the homicide of JonBenet. To this day that city is infamous for the black mark of never solving that case. It’s never gone away and every anniversary of the death of JonBenet brings more negative press on the players and the city.
        Do you think any of the political or financial powers in Greeley/Weld county want a repeat of that fuster cluck? Do you think they want to be forever linked to the failure to secure a conviction in the deaths of 4 people? Forever is a long time. Forever is what we have in the Ramsey case.

        I agree that the companies involved would love for this case to disappear overnight. Just having your name involved with a quadruple murder case is not good for PR. Anadarko wields huge power in the county and they may already be tugging some strings but the main string they’re tugging is – end this and end this fast. They may very well be complicit in the suppressing of information to keep their name out of the press but to what ultimate end? Will the murderer walk away and start his life anew with his Anadarko employed mistress? Not going to happen.

        No I don’t think the information suppression is about tainting witnesses. We all know that’s just a delaying tactic by the prosecution. Why is the prosecution delaying the release of the information? I don’t know and I find it a bit strange also. I do know they’re probably doing everything they can to avoid the media shit storm of speculation that’s poised to break directly over their heads.

        Legal systems and business relationships are almost always chummy. Boulder is not alone in that circumstance.

        No one knows why the date has been changed. Maybe Watts changed his mind and will now request a preliminary hearing. Maybe there’s a plea deal. Maybe just as simple as a scheduling conflict.

        • nickvdl

          So you disagree, and your theory is you don’t have one. No one knows why the date has been changed. And that’s good enough for you?

          • Spock

            Please show me where I disagreed with the idea that a plea deal was not a possibility. I don’t recall writing that.
            I speculate that a plea deal is a real possibility but not for the same reasons you do. If there’s a plea deal Watts would be willing to accept it’s because Rourke is holding the cards. Not because there’s some big conspiracy by Anadarko, LeVel, Guttersen, Cervi or the chummy legal system to shut this down over bad publicity.
            No I don’t have one theory – I have more than one and I’m totally good with that.

  6. Pauline

    Let’s just see what happens here. If the case cannot be settled by whatever plea offer the D.A. gives Watts then at some point (and likely after several more motions to postpone) the case will be set for trial. I too want a trial. I think it will be extremely interesting. Watts does have a right to a speedy trial, and it’s also possible bail may be requested, but likely denied. May have already been denied. I’d have to go over all of those motions again.

    • nickvdl

      It’s by no means certain there will be a plea deal. I’m certainly not suggesting it’s 100%. I’m simply showing that the stars are aligning in a certain way, and it’s “on the cards”. At this point Chris Watts is just a little pawn in a much bigger legal chess game, and he has very little resources to work with. He doesn’t have much of a choice. It’s the DA’s call.

  7. Pauline

    Yes, it is their call. Please keep us posted, as my eyes will be on the midterm elections.

  8. Spock

    Well let’s see what this conversation contains.

    Nick has accused me of anal knit picking, asinine responses, lacking sophistication, not applying logic, wasting his time and my favorite is this quote, “Do you want to try to figure out unknowns with a systematic scenario that ties things together, or just randomly throw out the first thought that occurs to you, maybe to entertain yourself and pass the time?”

    I have accused Nick of nothing. I have defended my well thought out position (which I solidly stand by) under his siege of attack.

    End of conversation. End of wasted time.

    • nickvdl

      So what is your theory?

    • nickvdl

      Btw if you feel like you’re wasting time, please go and waste your time somewhere else.

      • Cheryl

        Nick, I know you’re frustrated, but I don’t think you mean that—Spock should just go away. Spock is a great contributor, as are so many others here. And you’re a wonderful host! I haven’t found any other site where there’s this kind of detailed analysis. Can’t we just agree to disagree? There’s so little civility in the world, particularly this county—good ole USA. People talk over, yell at, and disparage each other. It’s f’n awful. We’re on the election eve of god knows what here. I’ve so enjoyed the thoughtfulness, civility and restraint exercised on this site. It’s a joy and a respite!! Let’s preserve it and move on. Thank you.

  9. Diana

    If there’s a plea deal going down, I’ll just say…..Hell hath no fury like a family or community denied justice! In other words – Any plea deal had better keep Chris Watts behind bars for a looooong time, otherwise, the stench will be on Weld County forever, just as it is in Boulder!

  10. Kat

    This is a little off topic but I’m just wondering if CW had a background check. I mean if Anadarko is so important and powerful wouldn’t they have given him a pre employment background and security clearance check? And besides his supposed criminal background that I read about in the daily mail wouldn’t his bankruptcy have disqualified him from a security clearance?

    • Diana

      Kat – Although you’re question isn’t addressed to me, I do have a little, just a little bit of insight into this subject, but Nick mentioned knowing someone in the industry too, so I’m sure he’ll have an answer as well. I had an ex who did oil drilling and now my son does. As a matter of fact, my son is in Colorado, I’m in Florida. You’d be surprised at the riff-raff these companies hire for the lower positions! While they do drug testing for safety issues, most do NOT do criminal background checks. Again, that would be your lower pay positions, such imo, is where I’d say Chris Watts was. I know a few years back, North Dakota couldn’t hire enough workers when the oil industry was a booming. Many of those workers ended up on Meth and every other drug you could think of. Anyways, my two “sense” is these companies don’t look deep enough into some of the people they employ let alone if they’ve ever had a bankruptcy.

  11. Nick

    @Cheryl I’m actually considering disabling the comments entirely, simply because it’s a distraction and time consuming in terms of my book research. It inevitably seems to lead to personal attack and disagreement somewhere down the line, which also sucks up valuable time and attention.
    The blog coverage and new social media page is an experiment – it involves a lot of work given away for free.
    I have a few milestones in mind with this case and this site. Once achieved I will scale down the online coverage so I can get back to my other narrative projects.

    • Cheryl

      Understood. Thank you.

  12. Kat

    Hey Cheryl, thanks for your reply. I’m in Fla too and 60k is not exactly a lower level job here but maybe it is in Colorado. I wonder if chris was on meth when he committed the murders? He and scott peterson were definitely on the same drugs, ha ha.

    Also, just curious Cheryl, when they test for drugs in Colorado does pot count now that it’s legal?

    Nick I hope you don’t disable the comments. I really like reading them.

    • Cheryl

      Hi, Kat. I think you mistook me for another contributor, which is why I haven’t responded to your questions. Hopefully the answers you seek are located somewhere on this lengthy thread!

  13. nan

    I have been active on websleuths for over ten years, and am currently on a self-induced, extended hiatus. The catalyst for this was the watts case.

    For self-preservation, I had to check out due to the continued hysteria by soccer moms acting as pseudo FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit agents and non-credentialed psycho therapists. I found you while searching for an alternative and a respite to the dumb noise from the “moms”.

    I have read everything I can find on the Rebecca Zahau story from the beginning ( “ naked woman hung herself in Coronado”) and look forward to reading your thoughts.

    I appreciate reading your intelligent approach to the Watts case.

    Will miss your blog immensely.

  14. nan

    I was married to a mute man, “nice guy” like chris watts.

    Always interested in trying to understand the mind of a mute man living a double life.

    Looking forward to a watts trial.

  15. Diana

    Nick I hope you don’t disable the comments. Reading your blogs and the comments are enlightening, I do enjoy reading both. I’ve read all that you’ve written on the Watts case including Book 1! I have Book 2 Beneath the Oil loaded and ready to start on later tonight, can’t wait! I started Book 1 and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I told my husband to blame you that I didn’t cook supper last night, too busy reading! Your blog has wet my appetite for more. In fact, I will be reading your books on JonBenet, Casey Anthony and likely the McCann case as well. I find your writing style riveting. Keep in keepin’ on!!

  16. Diana

    Those typos! I meant to say at the end of my comment above….Keep on keepin’ on!

    • nickvdl

      Thanks Diana. True crime is a continuum. Some people want to to know only about a single case, and aren’t interested to know how true crime relates “intertextually”. With each new case I investigate, my ability to see into true crime as a whole sharpens, and so I’d encourage those with a similar interest to do the same. Look beyond the Watts case in an effort to see around its unknown corners.

      The Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, Van Breda and Ramsey cases all relate in some very meaningful way to this one, all provide psychological insight into this puzzle, but none quite complete the picture because each case is ultimately idiosyncratic.

      That being said, no criminal motive is completely new or completely unique. We all know what it is to feel desired – or resented, admired – or humiliated. The basic circumstances in true crime are seldom new. This is why it’s irritating whenever there’s a shocking new crime committed to hear the same empty labels thrown out [monster, evil, narcissist, psychopath, guilty].

      I think it was Juan Martinez, the prosecutor in the Jodi Arias case who said, and I’m paraphrasing:

      “In my experience there are only two motives. Sex and money. If it’s not the one, it’s invariably the other, and often it’s both.”

      So the patterns are familiar. What’s unique are the identities and the way the circumstances ultimately align within a particular psychological context within these distinct identities. It takes a long time to get to know new people and personalities, which is why with each consecutive narrative in each series I’ve written, insight is built on insight, and it’s incredible how much one can ultimately know just by paying attention. The mantra in true crime for the narrator is the same for any investigator: keep looking!

      • BAMS13

        I’m enjoying your posts too Nick and agree with Nan’s assessment regarding the hysterical “soccer moms” on SM. I’ve been reading your blog today rather than wiling away hours looking for a needle in a haystack reading through all the junk in FB groups.

        I hope Spock doesn’t leave because like you, he adds valuable information and it’s just respectful to consider all views even if they differ from your own. I don’t think he meant to challenge you, he/she was just engaging in healthy debate. Keep up the good work.

  17. BAMS13

    CW wasn’t a LeVel promoter, a friend of his has already come out on SM to say that all CW friends knew messages he was supposedly “sending” from his phone and FB to push thrive products was actually SW. That’s the thing that’s nuts about this case, all the false assumptions flying around and guesses based on bias or ignorance rather than sitting tight and waiting for more information.

    • nickvdl

      Even if Shan’ann was sending posts from his phone and FB, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a promoter. He’d earned an auto bonus too which, well, I’d like to know how you get that if you’re not a promoter. Unless of course that wasn’t true. He’s also wearing the patches and attending all the events. Seems weird that you’d actively wear the t-shirts and promote and not be the promoter. If he was, it would be interesting to see whether – as a married couple – he could have cashed in on her earnings while she was missing. I’ve read the contract and there are key provisions for couples and their obligations towards one another.

      • BAMS13

        I think he helped out mostly due to SW persuasion and also because obviously he could leverage off her success and live videos quite easily without really doing too much. Even though it would have benefited them both financially for him to help her promote it, I seriously doubt he wanted to. He was just an extra character in her live videos, if her own husband wasn’t “thrivin’” why would anyone else want to? I think they were all encouraged to use their whole families as pawns to encourage new sign-ups to Le’Vel, hence why Bella & CeCe featured so heavily. I guess they were thrive promoters too in a way 😉

        • nickvdl

          I think the real question is, could he have walked away if he wanted to? If she knew he was having an affair, and he knew she knew, and she needed him to promote the happy family image to make money, and they both needed money to keep the house, then they may have both found themselves unwillingly in a coerced-type situation. Neither wanting to be there, especially as you say – not him – but both feeling like they didn’t have a choice. Many people have said ‘why didn’t he just get a divorce?’ But it’s the wrong question – it should be: ‘why did he feel he couldn’t just get a divorce/?’

          • BAMS13

            Very valid point. I think a lot of people stay, not because they want to or choose to but because they feel stuck and think it’s easier. The Watts has also created a manufactured facade that they were probably reluctant to destroy too quickly because too much was at stake. This is the inherent problem with social media in general especially when portraying a “perfect” life.

      • JC

        I, too, wonder if he would continue to receive monthly deposits from LeVel. I assume it would be tied to their bank account and payments are automated. There is an interesting comment (or several) in the comments under this article, and one from a previous promoter that describes meeting monthly expectations. It comes closest to revealing how the financial rewards are attained that I have seen to date on Thrive. Making quota, or moving up in some cases, is seemingly dependent on the generosity of the promoter above you. I wonder who from the outside first introduced Thrive into the lives of this family.

  18. Pauline

    Motions were filed today – “Request for expanded media coverage” by
    Denver 7
    The Coloradoan
    Mrs. Productions

    • Karen

      Thank you!

  19. Maura

    @Nickvdl I’ve been enjoying your blog for 2 reasons:
    1. Your insight and analysis of the case.
    2. The ongoing comments of many people who frequent your blog.

    I hope you don’t disable the comments and lose the wonderful Community you’ve built here. People come to read about and discuss the case, not to argue.

    As a Marketing Strategist my advice is to find additional Blog moderators besides you. There are many sites to advertise even Volunteer jobs. Have a disclaimer before the Comments that opinions there may differ from your own.

    Come up with a Blog posting schedule (I.e. Twice per week) that is manageable. Invite a few from your audience to guest blog. People can help you run the blog and your social media posting as designated helpers. This will free up your time for research/writing without losing opportunities to expand your audience.

    • nickvdl

      Thanks Maura, I could definitely do with blog moderators. I’ve been posting to a hectic schedule which had definitely made things hard to handle. I think heading into December and beyond that will change. Once my 3rd book is out – in a few days times – a lot of pressure will be lifted.

  20. Pauline

    I like the free form this has taken here. I love the pictures, which tell the story. I like the opportunity this site gives for selling books – because I love sales, and when a product is good having a blog like this is a great way to market and sell. I like discussing other cases as well, and seeing how they are interrelated. I understand how a comment can rub someone the wrong way, but I say stick around and fight. Piktor made a comment about the crime seeming haphazard, slipshod, spur of the moment, and it did, didn’t it? Yet there was the stillness of the night before, the barbecuing alone, the latch-locked front door, the ongoing affair that takes me in another direction. One can still premeditate and have to hurriedly improvise at the last minute. Imagine the chaos in one’s mind after you have done the deed. And believe me, Watts knew what home surveillance cameras were pointed at his house. He said so in his impromptu talk in his driveway.

  21. Pauline

    update: the request for expanded media coverage was for the hearing tomorrow, the People filed a motion to not have it and the judge ruled in their favor. So there will not be expanded media coverage tomorrow. Read the motion if you wish. This tells me perhaps, since the prosecution is thinking ahead to a jury, expects to seat one.

    • nickvdl

      Could be. Or else it’s back to the original contention – Weld County want to limit media exposure of this case.

  22. Pauline

    Watts objected to it as well.

    • Karen

      I’ll bet he did. It didn’t seem to affect the Anthony case, or the Patterson case so why worry about this one? Of course I wouldn’t want anything to interfer with the trial but it doesnt make it any less frustrating.

  23. Diana

    Nick – Your comment ( paraphrasing here)….Don’t ask why Chris Watts didn’t just go get a divorce…..Ask why he felt he COULDNT go get a divorce. Its that extra insight you provide that I love about your writing! GREAT JOB on Books 1 & 2 on the Watts case, can’t wait to read Book 3! Also looking forward to reading your work on Casey Anthony and JonBenet! Thank you for sharing your talent with us!

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