Six days after the plea hearing on November 6th, Chris Watts’ parents have spoken out for the first time. I’m surprised they haven’t spoken out sooner. I was also surprised they didn’t make a statement outside court when they were in Greeley. If they were given instructions not to talk to the media, they’ve changed their minds and gone against them now, and they’re right to do so. The right to a fair trial is a basic human right, guaranteed by law and constitution of the United States.
In this case that right does to to be maligned, in the sense that Watts appears to have been manipulated into accepting a plea. It’s also odd that his parents have felt shut out in this process. It’s one thing if the Rzuceks feel a plea suits them, it’s another if Watts parents feel it doesn’t. If it doesn’t they should say so and not stop saying so.
So which schmuck lawyer convinced Watts that pleading guilty was in his own best interest? Even if a jury sentenced him to death [given the circumstances of this case I believe that’s far from certain], it would be a sentence unlikely to be carried out, and one he could appeal against.
When Denver7 spoke to the Watts family via Skype [by the sounds of it], the reporter asks Ronnie and Cindy, why now?
Cindy answers, “Because we didn’t know about the plea deal.” Ronnie is looking down when she answers, and doesn’t nod to reinforce that answer. If they truly didn’t know, they should be furious. I believe they did know, but now feel they’ve been misled. It’s okay to say so.
Then Cindy adds: “We were not allowed to talk to him about it.” I’m not sure this is entirely accurate either, because if they visited him in jail, it certainly came up. Probably they didn’t get to discuss the plea deal as openly and completely as they would have liked, or – more likely – they thought they were doing the right thing, and now [a week before the sentencing hearing] they’re having second thoughts. It’s okay to feel that way.
As soon as a defendant feels a particular plea isn’t in his best interest, he’s allowed to rescind it, or to appeal the plea if he does so late in the legal steeplechase.
CINDY: I asked Chris, if you didn’t do this [presumably referring to the murders of the children], do not confess to something you didn’t do. She [referring to Watts’ defense lawyer] she shut me down…she completely shut me down.
“She” seems to be a reference to Kathryn Herold or Megan Ring. It’s likely Cindy is accurate on this point. If Watts’ state appointed defense attorneys were pressuring him to take the plea deal, then they wouldn’t want Cindy interfering with that process.
Looking at Ronnie, Cindy recalls her son telling her [them]:
“He said ‘I’m sorry, I lost [interrupts herself…his temper?] I went into a rage [Ronnie mumbles something] and…I killed her.’ And he said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ He said: ‘I’ve ruined your life. I’ve ruined my life.’ “
It’s interesting watching Ronnie and Cindy together. Cindy takes the initiative. She speaks for the most part while Ronnie takes a back seat. But then when Chris Watts’ father says something, it’s quite a big deal.
RONNIE: Well, he told me, he said ‘Dad, I could not put the girls with her, after what…after what she did.
What did Shan’ann do? Is this a broad reference to her succumbing to the Le-Vel black hole?
RONNIE: He said, ‘I’m not putting her with her [them].’
Ronnie and Cindy both don’t seem surprised by their son’s dislike for Shan’ann. It’s possible they’d known about it for years because Chris Watts had lived it, and they’d also experienced Shan’ann themselves. Beyond the MLM crowds who liked one another on social because there was an incentive in doing so [I scratch your back if you scratch mine], Shan’ann was perhaps an acquired taste.
When the Denver7 reporter asks Watts’ parents to explain how putting the children in the oil tanks was a gesture of good will, both Ronnie and Cindy are a little caught out. Both answer, speaking over one another, that they still don’t understand that.
His parents are arguing that Watts gave the girls and Shan’ann a different [separate] burial, and seem to be saying through that he showed his disdain for Shan’ann. The oil tanks seems to a more heartless form of burial than a grave in the Earth, so I’m not sure that argument holds. I think it is true that his feelings for Shan’ann differed markedly from his feelings towards his children. I think towards the end Chris Watts really could not stand his wife. Ronnie and Cindy confirming this speaks volumes.
Perhaps responding to the legions on Facebook responding with the knee-jerk catchall [which they apply universally to true crime], Cindy maintains that her son isn’t a psychopath or a sociopath.
When the Denver7 reporter refers to a trigger, he references his own question to Watts during his Sermon on the Porch.
Watts answered then that they had an emotional conversation but “let’s leave it at that”. Unfortunately the reporter didn’t ask “an emotional conversation about what”? Watts wanted to leave it at that, but if he the reporter had insisted, probably the inference would have been they had an emotional conversation about splitting up.
That’s what the affidavit says.
When the Denver7 reporter asks Ronnie and Cindy about it, Cindy’s voice rises with emotion:
“He was leaving her.” Ronnie mouthes “leaving her” in the background as well.
But that’s not the trigger. The separation was a precipitating factor, and as I’ve mentioned in TWO FACE, it was a long time coming. In fact the six weeks Shan’ann spent in North Caroline from the 9th to the 15th week of her pregnancy was either officially or unofficially part of that trial separation.
We also know that during this trip, Shan’ann’s mother told her work colleagues at Hair Jazz in Aberdeen [which is a few miles West of Spring Lake] that her daughter and son in law were having difficulties with their marriage and “definitely” intended separating.
But separating because of what? The trigger isn’t the separation, it’s the thing causing the separation. Was it the affair or affairs Watts was “actively” engaged in? Once again, that’s not a trigger. Being in an affair isn’t what triggers an affair. The trigger may have something to do with Watts’ sexuality, or the constant bummer of the MLM debt spiral Shan’ann was locking them into, or the pregnancy, or a combination of all these factors.
If Chris Watts intended to separate from Shan’ann before April, then the “surprise” pregnancy wasn’t a surprise at all, it was a strategic manoeuvre to lock her man into the marriage. Maybe he went along with it, like the Watts parent went along with the plea deal, then changed their minds after. Maybe Shan’ann agreed to quit the MLM, if he stayed in the marriage, she’d quit with the MLM. But maybe she reneged on that promise, and that was what the trip to Phoenix was all about.
RONNIE: He just wasn’t in love with her any more, he said.
CINDY: If this actually happened like the- like they’re saying…that it did…that he killed them, then what was the trigger?
RONNIE: If he didn’t kill the children, I want him to face that and let them prove it.There’s a whole lot of unanswered questions about the case. Everything happened too quick there, from a case status thing to a plea.
CINDY: It did.
The Denver7 reporter asks Watts’ folks if they think their son was coerced into making the deal.
CINDY: I have no idea.
RONNIE: The only reason I can think of, he’s tryna…for our family and for her family…for our family and his family not to go through a trial. Long drawn out trial.
CINDY: It has been so overwhelming. And I feel like I have to do something to-to help my son to…to… I-I just need to do something. If he’s not going to fight, I want to fight for him.
Off camera Denver7 quotes Cindy adding that what his lawyers did wasn’t enough.
“To me, all they wanted to do was save his life, just save his life. Save his life and life in prison to me there’s no difference. He’s going to die in prison. I just want him to fight. I don’t want him to take this plea deal. I want him to plea[d] not guilty to the children.”
Watch the original interview on Denver7 at this link.