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Was Chris Watts’ mother really “misinformed” about the plea deal?

After a week-long blitz during which Chris Watts’ parents appeared on a spectrum of American media criticizing the plea deal and undermining the investigation, when they appeared in court Monday with an anonymous “representative” they appeared to have had a sudden change of heart.

The representative, speaking on their behalf, indicated that they’d been misinformed.

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Interestingly, Ronnie Watts, like his son, never spoke at the hearing. He did speak to his son indirectly though, through the slick representative dressed in black standing beside them. While Chris Watts stared in front of him, not making eye contact but appearing emotional, the woman read his father’s words:

“We still don’t have all the answers and I hope one day you can help us. You are here today accepting responsibility but I want to tell you this now: I love you. Nothing will ever change that. And I want you to find peace and today is your first step. Chris, I forgive you, and your sister forgives you, and we will never abandon you.”

His sister didn’t seem to be in court, and declarations of clemency at a sentencing trial seem – to me – out of place. How do you forgive someone when they still haven’t told you what they did, or why? Obviously Chris Watts can’t fully confess, because even he can’t forgive himself for what he did.

While the designee – representative, whatever – read his father’s statement, Watts bobbed silently in the background, as if a child himself, trying to contain his emotions by rocking, by trying to soothe unvoiced and unvoicable torments.

But his mother did speak. She spoke genuinely and with compassion, and it seemed her words may have reached even deeper into the heart of stone sitting behind her. And yet, even his mother said to him, “We [still] love you…maybe you can’t believe it either.”

Below is the full original interview with Cindy Watts a week before the sentencing hearing. She makes an interesting point about the plea deal in it. Was she really misinformed? If so, how did that happen – how could it – three months after the murders?


  1. kouldb

    “Chris, I forgive you, and your sister forgives you” Who is she to forgive the murder of Shanann to begin with? It seems to me mommy has been making excuses for her precious little boy all his life & has spawned a monster. For not matter how much you loathe your wife & even if killing her can be remotely justifiable, how did he justify killing his children? It’s just incredible. And the way in which he disposed of their bodies. I just can’t believe what he did. I keep wondering what must have gone through Shanann’s & his daughter’s minds when he killed them? Images of his little girl biting her tongue as she fought back. Of Shanann fighting to breathe. Just won’t leave me. For some reason, even a seasoned true crime fanatic. This case has gotten under my skin. A man, cheating on his wife with another woman, and at least another male, kills his pregnant wife & two little girls. Then blames the killings on his now dead wife. He has no conscience. No empathy. No sense of morality. No love.

  2. Sylvester

    His needs at the time he met Sha’nann were to escape his home life, his domineering mother, and his family of origin. He went after her. His mother was and has always been the problem.

    • Cheryl

      I think the mother/father figures for both Shan’ann and Chris were models, and in that regard may have played a part in the Watts family tragedy. Both mothers were the spokespersons during interviews, negotiations with the DA, and the hearing. In these environments, the fathers, for the most part, assumed a recessive role, with the exception of Frank Rzucek’s emotional and largely childish testimony, especially relative to Sandy’s more nuanced and adult-like reflections. I imagine that Shan’ann’s dominant personality was familiar to Chris via his mother’s example, just as Chris’s passive personality was comfortable for Shan’ann via her father. Why this personality dynamic played out to such a tragic conclusion between Chris and Shan’ann versus between their mutual sets of parents, I don’t know, other than there appears to have been an exaggerated and/or toxic predisposition toward dominance or passivity in Shan’ann and Chris respectively. Perhaps coupled with other stressors—children, finances—Shan’ann’s and Chris’s defined and oppositional personalities informed, over time, a polarization that allowed no middle ground, no safe spot for self-reflection or negotiation.

      • trish

        What? Women speak and they’re responsible for this tragedy? Are you saying women can’t be leaders or speak out fearing they will be models for murder and other heinous crimes?
        Chris Watt’s is responsible for the deaths of these children and his pregnant wife…no one else.
        When will the world stop blaming women and putting us down??!!

    • Jen

      “His needs at the time he met Sha’nann were to escape his home life, his domineering mother
      His mother was and has always been the problem.” Evidence for this or just what’s inside your own head?

  3. Sylvester

    His mother says he got one speeding ticket. Only he didn’t even know about it. So she’s always made excuses for him. He was her golden boy, he wouldn’t just do what you (translation she) asked of him, he would run to do it. When he meets Sha’nann (and his mother can’t even say where they met) he saw a needy woman where he could be the caretaker. Cindy Watts didn’t like this. That her golden boy was going to leave her and get married. She wanted him to be the Nascar person he and his equally quiet dad had dreams of him becoming. So she boycotts the wedding. But as Sha’nann got better physically, got well essentially, and started to have more social power than he would ever have he felt left out, and abandoned. Left in the dust. Of course Cindy Watts wants to think Chris was going to leave Sha’nann. But I think she had solidified her plans to move on and told him so.

    • Jen

      Bizarre. You get all that from1) a speeding ticket but no further recorded transgressions until he murdered his family 2) But his first job after marriage was as a car mechanic & his old tutor & friends noted that it was years before he even met Shan, that he gave up on high-profile Nascar work 3) None of us know what happened prior to the wedding, it may be unrelated to everything you suggest 4) Nothing to suggest that he felt abandoned, in fact he was checking out both emotionally & then murderously. 5) Salon hairdresser in NC – Nonna’s workmate explained it was common knowledge that a separation was in the offing, so there’s no “Cindy wants to think” about it & “SW solidified her plans” & the DA confirmed that Shan also knew this was a marriage in crisis and was sending him marriage counselling material in order to stave off a marriage crisis. 6) May I recommend Websleuths to you?

      • nickvdl

        What’s on Websleuths that we ought to know about? Or is it just a general diss of what’s here?

    • Lee

      I am appalled that in light of this tragedy that Cundy Watts would have the audacity to blame Shan’ann. Maybe instead of pointing fingers she shod have instead raised her son to be faithful and keeps his pants zipped up. She still seems to think he is not guilty and says she wants the *truth* when Chris tells her the truth that he actually did it will that be enough for her. He followed his pecker to greener pastures and did not want the burden of a family. How is that for the truth.

  4. Sylvester

    When Chris first met Sha’nann she wasn’t dominant. She was sick, weak, had low energy and in need of a caretaker. Essentially she was needy. He could be her protector and provide her with strength, and “he was a good listener” (according to Nichole) and so he felt appreciated. He was at his best when Shan’ann was at her worst. When she gained strength, and was excited about her career, she gained power. He goes looking for someone new, and if we look into the personality of Nichole K. we might find a rather naive needy person in her as well. This is how Chris feels appreciated. He, as do we all, need to feel necessary. And yes, the family of origin always plays the biggest role in defining the role the child has to play in the dynamic in order to survive. Ron Watts – rather meek, couldn’t read his own statement, but Cindy could certainly read hers. Frank Rzucek, overcome with grief and sadness, was able to get through his. Frankie, still likely simmering with anger didn’t trust himself to read his. But he wrote it, he put thought into it, and is was well delivered by Rourke.

    • Cheryl

      According to Chris’s mother in the interview posted here, Shan’ann was critical of Chris and therefore attempting to establish dominance over him from the get-go. Chris’s mom saw Shan’ann’s behavior toward Chris as “toxic” and as a result did not attend the wedding. Nichol was Chris’s superior at work—a female engineer working in a man’s realm. You have to be assertive and have some pretty thick skin to pull that one off. I just bet this was part of the attraction for Chris. Another assertive woman without the toxic history that existed between Chris and Shan’ann—bankruptcy and blame. Similar personality but fresh start.

  5. Sylvester

    If the mother was the primary dominant figure in Chris’s life, making it possible for him to attend technical school specifically to be trained in something that would give him his lifelong dream, then he meets a woman he begins pursuing a woman despite that woman’s attempts to push him away, wouldn’t Chris’s mom feel resentful and displaced, and replaced, that no matter how hard she wanted him to be her own golden boy he defies her and leaves the nest for another woman, and leaves the area too. Gets as far away from North Carolina as his legs will carry him.

    • Carol

      I think his mother disliked some of shananns comments so she hated her, she was narcissistic and controlling, her son just committed one of the worst family murders but she’s judging and calling his wife’s faults? Omg, really. This woman was so petty she didn’t attend her granddaughters birthdays, one that was so easy for her to get to. Now how does that feel, your grand babies last birthday on earth and your vindictiveness kept you from attending. They are gone now but who is here yet to live with that, if it bothers her at all, she lost out big time

  6. Shannon

    I’d like to know why her first husband Divorced her in less 2 years of marriage. But he’s not talking.
    You always saw Shanann with her Dad, never her mother or brother. She never really spoke of them.
    As for Chris’s FB page, I never saw it.
    I think he was just fed up with everything in his life, dissatisfied and disappointed.
    By doing what he did, cutting all Ties to that family…no more debt, kids,wife, house.
    I guess he figured he might, could have gotten away with it.
    Not sure how much planning went in to all this beforehand.
    There still are alot of questions…we may never know.
    Monday’s court action to me was very wierd. Not much said.
    Rourke afterwards stammering around like an Idiot.
    As for the other girl, her media attention was just to spark more unanswered questions and to make Chris look worse.

    • trish

      what does a prior marriage have to do with murder?
      Watts is a cold blooded murderer.
      He killed his own children and threw them away and you need to know about Shanann’sfirst husband? SMFH!

  7. Carrie

    There is something very wrong here. Forgive me I did not read the other comments so I don’t know if this is being talked about. In my opinion there is something very strange about chris and his mom that I can’t put my finger on. He cried when his dad spoke but when his mom did it seemed like nothing but contempt. I am a mother of two boys and one has high functioning autism ..if for some reason he was to snap the very first people I would blame would be me and my husband. I would be devastated and even if I didn’t like the in laws i would feel so bad. WHAT is being hidden? What really went on in the family? It is clear by Shananan that she never wanted to take her kids there again. Was it just about the nuts? To me it seemed shanann spent to much time away from home which chri s may have resented and decided to move on if she kept leaving. How convenient he met somebody at work he could see everyday. And with her traveling left an open. I can go on and on but really I suppose nothing i write will do nothing as Chris the coward won’t talk. My apologies for misspelling shannans name i am on a kindle and spell checker really sucks.

  8. Shannon

    I think when Chris and Shanann met, she would be coming away from 1st marriage. In which she was supposed to having an affair with her Boss. That’s why 1st hubby Divorced her. Plus “someone” lent her money to build the house. She meets Chris, abit later She sells her home, then they move away, for Chris’s new job.
    I have no idea, dynamics of their parents as kids, teenagers and adults…. Chris and Shanann. I do know Shanann left home at 18. Chris ?
    I think he was just fed up, with all her BS.

  9. Shannon

    Must remember Chris wanted to speak to his Dad, not his Mother, before Confessing.
    So he trusted his Dad’s thoughts.
    I hope Chris changes his mind, plea deal…but I have a feeling he won’t.
    He needs better Lawyers if he does.

    • Samantha

      I’m way late to this convo. And i do not agree that he needs to change his mind for the plea deal. I know he didn’t get one to save his life, because even the prosecutor, himself, said her parents didn’t want his life to be taken and he intended on following them with this. In my opinion, they showed chris exactly what they found, exactly how they were going to lay it out because they didn’t care what he had to say anymore. They weren’t going to pry him for anymore information before being willing to move to trial. He figured his jig was up. He needs to be in prison forever. Nothing special about this case speaks on why i think this. I would feel the same if any member, killed all the members of their immediate family, especially with children under 18 involved. That’s just plain facts. Those poor helpless babies did nothing to him. They didn’t need that big ol house. They are absolutely precious. The only thing that can convince me that he wasn’t always a monster, abusive, no good SOB for his ENTIRE life ever before shanann. Is that he pleads guilty to the crime. Takes responsibility. Saying he shouldn’t take responsibility, by fighting his plea deal, only adds too his already doesn’t care about anyone but himself personality and clearly he’s MAXED OUT on selfishness when he clasped his bare hand over his babies mouths and noses until they passed on. I don’t how any of his victims made him feel. I find it sickening that many, many people use that as his defense.

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