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The "Second Confession": TCRS Breaks Down What We Know So Far

There’s a saying by English journalist Rudyard Kipling, author of Jungle Book, that goes:

“If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs…you’ll be a man, my son.”

Right now a lot of people are losing their heads [some are losing their minds too] on the Chris Watts case. After three months of virtual silence in the media, with the exception of the DA breaking its silence to have no comment on Kessinger’s first search for Shan’ann Watts in 2017 [December 10] and HLN’s recent publication of the doorbell footage [February 20], this “Second Confession” in March is the third major story.
It should be noted that our first peek at this story, and that’s all it really is – a glimpse – comes not from the Rzuceks [who are not terribly articulate] but through their lawyer Steven Lambert.

And it should also be noted that this isn’t a firsthand account, it’s either a second-hand account [meaning, Lambert was potentially in the room], or more likely a third or fourth hand account [via law enforcement, via the Rzuceks and then via Lambert].
We should also note that the media coverage at the moment is intended to sell a particular slot on a particular talk show. It plays like the teaser to a movie. In other words, it’s not exactly True Crime Rocket Science, it’s the tabloid shit that swills around cases like this.
The three screengrabs below are taken from a story published by the Daily Mail on March 5th. I’ve referred to the same story on the title page with some additional fact correction. It will be far more useful to deal with the police reports and analyze the audio, and that will likely be done exhaustively in a narrative [the audio is apparently 5 hours long].
But since we have what we have, let’s see what we can work with, and hopefully for those reading this who are also going to watch the show this evening, you guys can come back with a cogent sense of fact versus fiction still intact. Without further ado let’s unpack the coverage thus far.
1. A Fourth-hand Account
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Steven Lambert, apparently, will appear on the show, the Rzuceks family lawyer. A lot of what is going on right now is the lawyer trying to win a civil claim for damages on behalf of the victim’s family, or in common language “get as much money as he can for his clients [not forgetting himself]”. I remember very early on the media reporting that they were lodging a civil claim to prevent Watts from making money from the murders, for example through writing a book or selling his story. Well, that means the Rzuceks have virtually the exclusive rights to do that [make money telling and selling the story].
This strategy came to fruition recently as published on Inside Edition on February 19th.
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And here’s the story from November 27th, reporting on what happened 8 days earlier. Notice how the lawyer talks about “making millions”.
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The public should ask Dr. Phil how much he paid for this story, and evaluate the payment with the merits of what’s being peddled as “true” crime. Whatever your answer, that will give you some idea of the honesty and integrity of all the folks involved.
Now, back to the fourth-hand account. Let’s drill into the import of these claims:

It started with Shanann threatening to keep their children from him after she learned of his affair, and ended with the mom and both daughters dead.

Bella reportedly spent her final moments begging her father to spare her life. 

So if I understand English, the basic scenario here is a family argument? The family argument starts with Shan’ann threatening her husband, presumably to get him back after he confessed to her about the affair. But that’s not how it happened [just in the strict terms of this statement]. It started as Watts telling his wife of the affair, and then Shan’ann threatening to keep their children from them. And then [again this is outside the chronology of the way the paragraph is written] Bella begs for her life and then we’re left in suspense. Did he kill her right there?
So to simplify, this is the claim:
Watts confessed [to an affair].
Shan’ann threatened [to fight custody].
Bella begged [for her life].
Essentially these are three conversations or communications that end in a violence, brutal [to use the word in the article] triple murder. And yet no one hears a sound. When Watts tells his wife about the affair, does he whisper and Shan’ann whispers back? When Shan’ann threatens him, does she whisper? When Bella sees her mother dead, dying or murdered, does she beg for her life quietly?
We’ve also got an interesting flipping around of Watts’ original scenario. Remember how he came up stairs and caught Shan’ann strangling/smothering Ceecee? Now it’s Bella coming into the room and catching him doing it.
I don’t want to go into it into too much detail right here, but even the first contention is fucking preposterous. So…Chris Watts told Shan’ann he was having an affair? He just told her? Because that’s the kind of guy he is right? He’s a truth teller. Why would he tell her this at 02:00 or 04:00 in the morning when she’d had little or no sleep? Shan’ann didn’t want to wake him up and talk to him that night, although there was a lot she needed to talk about. And of the two, who was the more confrontational and talkative? So the idea that Watts told his wife the truth, and that’s what set the cat between the pigeons is patently ridiculous. But if you don’t know the people in this story you might think it makes perfect sense.
2. Not one fight, not one argument but two…
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So here we already have an adaptation of the first scenario, except it’s a double conversation. Fuck me, we’re running out of time! So was the first fight, making up and getting on really well in the first ten to fifteen minutes after Shan’ann arrived home? And that was also a quiet fight in which the children weren’t roused and the neighbors didn’t hear anything. What was that fight about?
Later on [an hour later, two hours later?] they get into a second fight and this time Watts confesses to the affair. At the same time he says he wants a divorce. Shan’ann tells him [I guess this is the “threatening”], “Well, you’re not going to see the kids again.” Like that, that’s how she says it. In other words, the conflagration that ends in triple murder starts off with Shan’ann calmly saying the word “well”. She says it.
Lambert then emphasizes that it was because of this “conversation” [he uses the word conversation] Watts strangles Shan’ann to death. That’s strange because they’d been texting for weeks about not being compatible and and possibly getting a divorce, and to him and to her friends Shan’ann didn’t mince words. Shan’ann wasn’t once to mince words. It was “fuck him” and “fuck that” but in spite of it, she was fighting to keep the marriage, and why wouldn’t she, she was pregnant. She couldn’t afford to raise the kids by herself, and he couldn’t afford to move out and live on his own either [and he knew it].
There are more sparks between Watts and his wife in their texts than in this silent night climax that leads to violent death. There are more sparks in a meltdown over nuts, than in an affair, divorce and murder.
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3. Bella walked in and asked…
We also get a silent re-examination of Bella’s last words. Now she’s not begging, now she simply asks [presumably in a soft voice that can barely be heard]: “What are you doing to Mommy?”
In the dozens upon dozens of videos, there are some where we can hear the children shouting. Bella was distressed about her sister not waking up, and probably missed her mother that night in particular, seeing as though they’d bonded over two weeks. And so in this scenario, she “asks” her father a question?
A real scenario involving a child witnessing the murder of their mother would sound like this:

And where was Rampage when all this silent ruckus was happening? Where was Deeter?

It’s classic that the Rzuceks decided to accept the plea deal out of mercy for Watts, and to spare themselves the discomfort and the spectacle of a trial, and then three months later, here they are celebrating and endorsing and passing on [essentially] this disclosure worth millions to the highest paying media about how their daughter and grand daughters were murdered. This is closure? Financial closure sure.
Ironically that was Watts’ motive too when he wanted to move on with his life.
There is something particularly troubling and psychopathic [not I word I often use] about this easy peasy, loosey goosey spinning of straw [dead bodies] into tabloid gold. If it was genuine justice, a true confession and actual contrition that would be one thing, but it isn’t. And look how many people are in on this ruse. The family. The lawyers. The media. We are all unthinking, unfeeling, unconscious monsters.
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  1. Susan

    The second confession analysis: this is precisely why I buy your books.

  2. Sideaffected

    I agree wholeheartedly. This is ridiculous. I REALLY hope Dr. Phil and whoever the fuck else brings up that this is absurd and people realize it’s another lie.
    It’s only revealing so far in that he is doing the projection thing again-“she threatened to take the kids”=“I felt threatened she would take the kids” as evidenced by that text he wrote to her “I don’t want to lose the kids!” There was no talking! The hands were the talking.
    I think her family isn’t doing it for money as much as wanting people to know he actually said he killed the kids. Cause there are lots of crazy CW fans that write blogs and go on podcasts claiming this and I’m sure they’re well aware. They’re probably either not concerned that he’s not being 100% honest as long as he says “I killed all of them”, or they’re not tcrs’s…
    The 5 hr interview will be great though cause with him you can figure out a lot in his lies.

    • Sideaffected

      Sorry I meant the crazies believe SW killed the kids

  3. TT

    Absolute nonsense, I can summarise the ‘confession’ with one thought: “How can I explain this terrible crime in the least worst way possible”

    • Laura Thompson

      Exactly. If this is what Watts really claims, then congratulations to him: he spent his time alone in that cell over these past six months wisely, because he managed to come up with about the *only* scenario that minimizes (or mitigates, or justifies, etc. Pick your terminology) his actions.
      I call bullshit.
      I’m not going to bother with this shitshow on “Dr.” Phil today; I’ll wait until the contents of the interview are released on Thursday, because I want to hear exactly what he says and how he says it.

      • JC

        I’m with you, Laura. Watching that show today would be like hearing the end result of a game of telephone, with Chris Watts communicating the original message. Presumably, someone who listened to his interview then told Rzucek’s lawyer what was said, who then told the Rzuceks, who then tell Dr. Phil. There’s a lot of room for spin and interpretation (or misinterpretation) of what was actually the content of that interview. Even the sensational headline “Bella pleaded for her life” is an interpretation of Watt’s description of events. When we played that game as kids the end result was usually a hilarious version of the original short statement. Imagine how much a 5 hour interview could get distorted.

  4. Fred

    Just more lies as has been typical of Watts. All he’s good at is muddying the waters. There is never clarity, just more confusion. That guy just believes his lies like an actor reading his script no matter how ridiculous. I thought for a second we would get the actual truth and it would be the last piece of the puzzle.

  5. CBH

    The whole thing takes premeditation out of the picture, and goes back to the emotional conversation with the sudden rage and kids are killed as an afterthought.
    BTW , this exact scenario actually occurred with the 1970 Jeffrey MacDonald murders, so it’s true to life. But it doesn’t fit here: Not with Chris’s personality nor with all the facts at hand.
    Dr. Phil has made an enormous mess of things and has ruined the anticipation of March 7.

    • nickvdl

      You’re right, it does excise the premeditation factor.
      The MacDonald murders are a good reference case for the “he just snapped” thing. When a murder is not premeditated it tends to be messy and often bloody. I’m providing Wikipedia’s description here FYI:
      The MacDonald family all had different blood types — a statistical anomaly that was used to theorize what had happened in their house. Starting with the assumption that they were the only four people bleeding in there, investigators theorized that a fight began in the master bedroom between MacDonald and Colette, who possibly argued over Kristen wetting his side of the bed while sleeping there. Investigators speculated that the argument turned physical as she probably hit him on the forehead with a hairbrush, which resulted in his head wound concussion. As he retaliated by hitting her, first with his fists and then beating her with a piece of lumber, Kimberly, whose blood and brain serum were found in the doorway, may have walked in after hearing the commotion and was struck at least once on the head, possibly by accident. Believing Colette dead, MacDonald carried the mortally wounded Kimberly back to her bedroom. After stabbing her (whose blood was discovered on his pajama top which he said he had not been wearing while in her room), he went to Kristen’s room, intent on disposing of the last remaining potential witness. Before he could do so, Colette, whose blood was found on Kristen’s bed covers and on one wall of the room, apparently regained consciousness, stumbled in, and threw herself over Kristen. After killing both of them, he wrapped Colette’s body in a sheet and carried it back to the master bedroom, leaving a smudged footprint of her blood on his way out of Kristen’s room.[10]
      CID investigators then theorized that MacDonald attempted to cover up the murders, using articles on the Manson Family murders that he’d found in an issue of Esquire in the living room. Putting on surgical gloves from a medical supply in the hallway closet, he went to the master bedroom, where he used Colette’s blood to write “pig” on the headboard. He laid his torn pajama top over her dead body and repeatedly stabbed her in the chest with an ice pick. He then took a scalpel blade from the supply closet, went to the adjacent bathroom, and stabbed himself once. Finally, he used the telephone to summon an ambulance, discarded the weapons out the back door, disposed of the surgical gloves and scalpel blade, and lay by Colette’s body while he waited for the military police to arrive.
      On April 6, 1970, Army investigators interrogated MacDonald. Less than a month later, on May 1, the Army formally charged him with the murder of his family.[11]
      This was MacDonald’s version of what happened:
      MacDonald told investigators that on the evening of February 16, he had fallen asleep on the living room couch. He told investigators that he did so because Kristen had been in bed with Colette and had wet his side of it. He was later awakened by Colette and Kimberly’s screams. As he rose from the couch to go to their aid, he was attacked by three male intruders, one black and two white. A fourth intruder, described as a white female with long blonde hair and wearing high heeled boots and a white floppy hat partially covering her face, stood nearby with a lighted candle and chanted, “Acid is groovy, kill the pigs.” The three males attacked him with a club and ice pick. During the struggle, he claimed that his pajama top was pulled over his head to his wrists and he then used it to ward off thrusts from the ice pick. Eventually, he stated that he was overcome by his assailants and was knocked unconscious in the living room end of the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

    • JC

      I agree, the scenario doesn’t fit the facts with all we know about the days and weeks leading up to the murders. I keep thinking that this version of events came from a man living in a vacuum. With no access to the internet, and possibly just tv news, he has no concept of just how transparent his life before the murders became. He’s essentially telling the FBI they’re wrong about everything – there was no premeditation. Bologna!

    • William

      And both MacDonald and Watts were on mood enhancing drugs- MacDonald on Eskatrol and Watts on Thrive.

      • CBH

        I have wondered sometimes about his overuse of the Thrive patches….

  6. Kim c

    In the Santa video posted it appears as if he has on those same black murder boots we saw him wearing and as described by a coworker, the night of the murders while loading his truck with his deceased family.

  7. Bob Gordon

    Very well written and thoughtful article.
    Before I even read this-article I was thinking the “Prison Confession” was BS. Watts planned it. And even after being convicted, it’s important to him to hide that fact. That fact reveals that he is a monster at his core. So he repackages the murders into “It was all set off by Shan’ann”. He can’t stop us from knowing he killed his family, but he thinks he can stop us from knowing he is a cold blooded beast who knew for weeks at least, that he was going to murder his girls and Shan’ann.
    And now we have the Rzuceks turning Watts “Confession” into a money grab. I’m not surprised. How many families rush to sue over the loss of family, even if it’s family they didn’t care for.
    Let this be a lesson to people, stop idolizing victims and victim’s families. Watts killing Shan’ann does not make her an angel who works miracles now. Nor does it make her family saints to be worshiped all fucking day.
    So many people lined up to kiss the Rzucek’s asses and now they want to charge them for it. Shan’ann, Bella and CeCe are just products to make people money now.
    Since those of us with hearts know what it’s like to cry, I thought it was odd that a Rzucek family member seemed to cry without tears in at Watt’s sentencing. I’ll have to watch that again after the Rzucek’s have begun teasing Watt’s words to make instant cash.
    I guess little Frankie never has to work again. He’ll be supported by Shan’ann, Bella and Ce Ce. Maybe they will team up with Nicole and go around touring to packed houses of paying attendees and telling their story.

    • Clean Queen

      “Let this be a lesson to people, stop idolizing victims and victim’s families. Watts killing Shan’ann does not make her an angel who works miracles now. Nor does it make her family saints to be worshiped all fucking day.”
      So very true. I couldn’t agree more. I can’t imagine taking a single penny for anything involving the murder of my own child, and grandchildren at that.

  8. William

    And two arguments and one making up but no movement downstairs? Two adults up for hours but neither go downstairs for a drink or a snack? Like you said no loud voices heard either, and what about lights on in the house? I’m really perplexed at the Rzuceks too, I thought they wanted the social media to stop, but they are leading the train, reminds me of Jodi Arias and all her art work and tshirt sales, this time around we have shine like Shan’ann buttons and Thrive sales going up in her name. Meanwhile the Watts parents are guilty by association.

  9. julinka1981

    So she threatened him not to see kids(which she can’t do legally anyway these days) and then he Killed her ,plus kids he sooooo wanted to see 🙄🤔hmmmm doesn’t add up at all! Already decided I won’t believe this confession.The o my thing it proves is killing of kids and not blaming it on her.

  10. marielangford3311

    Nick, My ex husband was a victim of a crime and here in the US, there is what is called a Victim Assistance Fund. I looked to see if Colorado had this program. You may find it interesting. COVA

    • Anna

      Somewhere in the discovery there is documentation of disbursements made from this fund to Shan’ann, Bella and Celeste to help with transportation and burial.

  11. Sherri

    Great analysis! I agree with you wholeheartedly. If this conversation ever took place (I sincerely doubt it did because Chris is a coward), and Shan’ann had actually said, “well, you’ll never see the kids again!”, Chris should have used this argument in his initial confession in August. It would’ve made sense that she would then kill the kids so Chris wouldn’t see them again. It would’ve helped his “confession” back then.
    I’m glad he has actually admitted to killing the girls, but I was hoping we’d actually get the whole truth. I was hoping more that he gave the girls oxycodone and they dies peacefully. This situation is actually much much worse than I’d hoped.

  12. Jade

    Chris Watts is a true “two face.” This second confession might be closer to the truth but not the entire truth. CW spent a lot of time planning the murders and thought about this for a long time. His end game was to be with NK and he needed his family out of the picture.
    CW even in this “confession” is still trying to deflect blame off of himself and onto SW. If SW threatened to keep the kids away from him why kill the kids and so callously? I did see the blown up video online of CW loading up the truck and the last person he loaded was Bella. He clearly stooped over and picked her up. I think CW killed SW and CeCe in the home. Bella I think he might have put her in the tank alive.
    This confession doesn’t really make sense. SW was tired, pregnant and not feeling well so I hardly think she was up for a “conversation” let alone two conversations. SW lived her every waking moment on social media and attached to her cell phone. When she arrived home, checked on her babies and got in bed all her activity stopped because he killed her.

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