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Chris Watts claims “Rage” was the operative emotion that made him wipe out his family. But this is what a genuine “Rage” Annihilation looks like…

The word “rage” appears only twice in the 29-page CBI Report documenting Chris Watts’ Second Confession. The first instance is at the top of page 8:

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The second instance is at the bottom of page 12:

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I won’t be doing any long lectures explaining why the “just snapped” scenario is bogus and bullshit, because that would be repeating tired arguments fielded months ago. If you haven’t read them yet, be my guest.

“Chris Watts Just Snapped”

Chris Watts describes the reason he killed Shan’ann Watts: “I just snapped” [AUDIO Part 1+2]

In the Discovery Documents there are a couple of additional instances of “snapping”, “losing it” and “rage”:

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Although Watts tries to paint a portrait of himself as overcome with emotion, and the crime as a crime of passion, we had virtually zero evidence of anyone else – including Shan’ann – experiencing Watts’ rage. There’s no sign of it at work, nor in his background. There’s none of it in his marriage, and his mistress never mentions any anger issues either. On the contrary, if anyone is somewhat petulant or irritable it’s not Watts, it’s either Kessinger or his wife. That’s not necessarily a compliment to Watts, to say that he was extremely cool and even crushed in on himself. This may have made him seem suave and mild-mannered to Kessinger, but pathetic, and meek – at times – to Shan’ann, who was more extroverted than he was.

The Watts Family Murders weren’t committed in a fit of rage. Premeditation by definition takes the emotional dimension out of a crime and replaces it with cool, calculated, precise execution, disposal of bodies and covering up of the crime scene.


If anything, both Shan’ann and Kessinger describe Watts as sweet-natured, Shan’ann realizing he was a “really nice guy” because he let her lay in his lap for 2.5 hours on a drive back from Myrtle Beach. Kessinger, in her exclusive with the Denver Post said although she barely knew him, he was a good listener. So the whole rage monster deal doesn’t work even if Watts would like it to. It’s just not who he is.

So what does an authentic ANNIHILATION driven by rage look and feel like?

Well, like this:

Phoenix man who suspected wife of an affair kills her and 2 kids, spares youngest: police – Fox News

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Fox News describes the Smith Shooting appropriately as a murder rampage.

The Smith case involves the murder of his two children [while sparing the third] and two adults, one of them a random bystander who happened to be at his brother’s apartment when Smith arrived there. Two other people were shot at the apartment, but the 47-year-old woman and 33-year-old man both survived. Smith’s shooting arguably qualifies for the definition of a Mass Shooting since four people were killed indiscriminately and spontaneously.

Although the Smith Shooting more closely resembles the “He just snapped” scenario, it’s obvious he didn’t just snap out of the blue either. The trigger was the notion that his own brother had betrayed him with his wife, and vice versa. There also seems to be a religious aspect, with Smith feeling emasculated not only as man but by what he may have felt justified regarding as “forces of evil”. The point is, it’s reductionist to boil down in a crime like the Smith Shooting as motivated by rage and a man snapping. That said, the Smith Shooting more closely fits that definition [if one insists on applying it] than the Watts case does.

This begs the question – if rage wasn’t the operative emotion in the Chris Watts case, what was?

What was it?

I don’t want to argue that zero anger or zero frustration was at issue here. There had to have been. Murder itself is a violent, aggressive act. But we’re trying to make the case for some other emotion – far more significant than anger – being the operative feeling in Watts’ murderous and mendacious heart.

What was it?



  1. Ira

    I would say Despair . I think his emotion lacked a positive or negative energy but he was desperate to get a resolution for his hellish situation and this is what he reacted with after being pushed to the absolute brink . His life was just a free fall and it was only a matter of time before absolute disaster struck . He was going to either get divorced and be ruined financially and possibly romantically with NK or the family was going to lose their home . It was only a matter of time . Lots of people are able to escape despair but be felt this was his only way out .

    • Lorraine Wadsworth

      I believe he was just a very evil man.. rage may have played a part in killing his wife but he drove 45 -60 mins to the site to then slaughter his babies… that wasn’t rage. That was cold premeditated murder.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “Despair”, to me, lacks energy. It’s a passive emotion. I’m reminded of this quote from “A Study In Pink”, the first episode of the BBC “Sherlock” series:

      “You haven’t killed four people because you’re bitter. Bitterness is a paralytic – love is a much more vicious motivator.”

      To translate that to the Watts scenario, specifically your comment, I’d describe “despair” as a paralytic. And in this case, “hate” is a much more vicious motivator. Hate for Shan’Ann, hate at what his little girls were turning into (as they’d recently adopted their mother’s contemptuous, disdainful attitude toward Chris). And, perhaps, “love” for NK.

      If he were truly in despair, he’d just kill himself if it were too much to take. But he didn’t. Because he wasn’t in despair! He was living his best life, with NK! And that awareness, that knowledge, made it clear what he must do…

      • nickvdl

        Right beside fear I would put love. Although it’s possible love motivated him to murder more than fear did. I just find that intuitively difficult to swallow.

        • Ralph Oscar

          Have you seen the BBC series “Sherlock”, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman? I can’t explain how “love” makes sense in this case without spoilering, and I won’t spoiler because it’s really really good.

          To me, fear invokes the flight-or-fight response. So it’s a spur of the moment thing, a reaction. Whereas love, the gaining and maintaining of it, will motivate one to plan…

    • Ralph Oscar

      “I would say Despair .”

      In fact, returning to your comment (which I obviously find hugely inspirational), I find a perfect description of Chris’ state of mind in this dialogue from Helen to Paris, from 2004’s “Troy”:

      “I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of tomorrow. I’m afraid of watching you sail away and knowing you’ll never come back. Before you came to Sparta, I was a ghost. I walked and I ate and I swam in the sea… I was just a ghost.”

      She later continues this thought:

      “Menelaus was a brave man. He fought for honor. And every day I was with him, I wanted to walk into the sea and drown.”

      Note that while she claims to be unafraid of dying, she was still alive. She obviously had the idea of walking into the sea and drowning herself, but she didn’t. That’s the point. She had been living in a state of despair, ever since her parents shipped her off to Sparta at age 16 to marry Menelaus. Her despair at the hopelessness of her situation rendered her powerless – so even though she could clearly envision a way out, she had no agency to do so. Hopeless = helpless.

      But, for Helen, with Paris’ advent, things changed. She now had a reason to change things in her life. She saw something accessible to her that she wanted, which gave her hope and with it, the vitality, the *life*, to take action. So she snuck out of her palace and onto the Trojans’ ship, to sail away to Troy and a new future with Paris. This, to me, looks very similar to Chris’ change of heart upon embarking on his affair with NK. Before NK, he was a ghost. He went through the motions, went to work, did what he was supposed to do, worked hard, brought home paychecks that vanished as surely as if they were being flushed down the toilet… And if Chris had “sailed away” via divorce, Shan’Ann would have unleashed a war every bit as devastating as the Trojan War (from Chris’ perspective).

      Does anyone know what prompted Chris to start working out, to become that silver fox? Was it the fact that he’d started stepping out? Because that was well before he started up with NK – he was buff by that point.

  2. Sarah

    On a micro-level this: the burden of being a father, working without getting ahead, money troubles, identity troubles, health burdens, sexlessness, in-laws, boredom and responsibility.

    On macro-level this: white man’s entitlement, violence perpetuated throughout modern time by white men, familial abuse, psychopathy, demons, ghosts, ouroboros, mass slaughter, guilt-driven derangement, sexual abuse, sex.

    The Donner party is the clip for the macro-level because it speaks the brutality of the human psyche, the perfunctory nature of natural selection and the almost satanic implications of darwinism of patriarchal societies: the strongest survive because they can kill the weakest.

    So, you’re right, Nick; saying anyone snapped is a pretty deductive and loose way to deal with the intricate machinations of the motives behind family annihilators.

    • Sarah

      That first religious video is not the video I meant to post. This one is. Its so opposite of what I meant to post it’s almost funny! boooo and sorry!

      • Ralph Oscar

        Oh – I see I should have read farther downstream! LOL!! Now I’m even more glad I bailed on the preachy one!!

    • Ralph Oscar

      Sorry, but the opening prayer of your first link was so barf-worthy that I wasn’t about to waste a second longer on that delusional old fogey’s useless and annoying prattlings. And the video is more than an *hour* long! No way – that’s the waste of an hour I’ll never get back. Perhaps you can transcribe the part that’s of interest to us here (if there is one). I’ve been lured into watching a Christian video before, only to find at the end that there was no point – the Christian who suggested it was simply getting a weird chub over having successfully manipulated me into sitting through some boring and useless Christian preaching. No more.

  3. Anna S

    Yeh….and after all that ‘RAGE’ he sent a pretty picture of flowers to his girlfriend. Really? No. Really?

  4. renalgirl

    Is cowardice an emotion?
    Shan’ann gave him an out. Several in fact, but he was too much of a coward to tell her how he was really feeling and about NK.
    I think CW would have found the shame unbearable, of being the ‘bastard’ who broke his family up by cheating on his loving wife. Much better to be the deserted husband and father, garnering sympathy galore.
    Still mind-boggling though. I’ve never read of such a case before. There’s still so much to learn about this kind of family annihilator.

    • nickvdl

      No, but close to one.

      “Shan’ann gave him an out. Several in fact…”>>>Can you explain what you mean by this?

      • renalgirl

        In the communication logs from the 32nd tranche, on August 5th. They were in NC but texting instead of face to face. Shan’ann told him “if you are done, don’t love me anymore, don’t want to work this out, not happy anymore, and only staying because of kids, I NEED you to tell me.” She also told her friend, ? Cassie, that she’d asked him if he was having an affair but he denied it.

        • nickvdl

          So you think asking someone if they’ve done something wrong is giving them an out? So if a criminal is being interrogated, and the cops say, come on, get it off your chest, tell us if you committed murder. By admitting what you did, that’s being offered an out and taking an out?

          • renalgirl

            The scope of my comment doesn’t include a criminal and some cops. I’m referring to this husband and wife who were in an intimate relationship for 8 years. SW gave him the opportunity to tell her what it was he really wanted. He fobbed her off, told her he’d fix it.

          • nickvdl

            Why do you think he didn’t just tell her he was cheating on her? If it was an out why didn’t he just say, “Shucks, yes I am cheating on you.” Why not take the out if it was an out? Because it was a ridiculously easy option if you think about it. Just say a few words and it’s offer, done, dealt with.

            I also want to ask you another question. Without building too much around it. Have you ever cheated on someone, and when they confronted you, did you also jump at the opportunity [the “out”] to come out and say, “Jeepers, I’ve been meaning to tell you. Yes, I’ve been cheating on you.”

          • Ira

            Because it wasn’t an out . Many men are hesitant to get divorced because often it essentially ruins them . He would be destroyed financially , he wouldn’t see his kids everyday and when he would , they would look at him as the bad guy as that’s what Shanann would paint him as . In addition , he would be looked at as the scumbag who had an affair and betrayed his pregnant wife and daughters . It was by no means an easy “ out” for him and it isn’t for most men facing the same situation .

          • richard

            Generally speaking, Men cheat to keep a marriage. Women cheat to end one.
            This was told to me by more than one female friend.
            interesting point.

          • Seymour Glass

            I had a close family member cheat on his wife of 10 years, and left her right at the time she found out she was pregnant. Unlike Chris, he bought her a small, but adorable house, and she didn’t work for the first 5 years of their child’s life. He covered their medical insurance and visited his child often. He ended up winning full custody of his child when the child turned 7. His wife moved on with a new husband and had more children. In those five years, he’d broken up with the girlfriend who helped break up his marriage, and married a much younger woman. (The man had game, very good-looking when he was younger).

            I remember his parents were all upset, thinking he would commit suicide when he found out his wife got pregnant at the exact moment he told her he wanted a divorce. He felt trapped just like Chris but didn’t chose murder as an option.

            If NK really loved Chris, then she would have understood his situation, and stuck by his side through his divorce with Shannan. If NK truly loved Chris, she would have encouraged him to be the best daddy to his beautiful, little girls. She would have immediately put out the rage-fire building inside of Chris by leaving no doubts in Chris’ mind that she wasn’t going anywhere – no matter what. It was never love between them, just lust disguised as love. To murder your entire family, including your unborn son you wanted so much, and then immediately act normal, more like try to (we all knew the SOB was guilty from the sermon on the porch moment) doesn’t speak to “just snapping” argument.

            Chris and NK were two unwell, disordered people who together, one on the physical level (Chris) and the other on the metaphysical (NK), colluded to bring about this horrendous act of evil. Remember David Graham and Diane Zamora. Separated, they would not murder anyone; together, all bets were off. Same with Chris and NK. He even says that in his February 2019 updated interview, that he should have gone to the game, that God was giving him an out. “At least she’s on the outside.”

            it’s kind of like the movie US (Jordan Peele). Instead of evil dopengangers (sp?) there are evil significant others waiting to tether so they can do evil where alone they couldn’t.

          • renalgirl

            All I’m saying is that SW gave him an opportunity to come clean, I know he didn’t take it.
            No, I’ve never cheated in a relationship. I’ve never started a new relationship while still involved with someone else. Perhaps I’m in the tiny minority that will (and have) leave a relationship that makes me unhappy, that no longer adds anything positive to my life. And be honest and straight-up while doing so.
            It’s a shame you get so snippy with contributors on TCRS, as it’s been fascinating reading since I found it last year. The positive for me is that I can finally leave my slight obsession with this case, and move on.

          • nickvdl

            SW gave him an opportunity to come clean, I know he didn’t take it.>>>And if he had, what do you think would have happened?

            “Are you cheating on me?”
            “Yes I am.”
            “You know I’m pregnant?”
            “Okay, no hard feelings…”

            But in your mind you clearly think that was the obvious alternative. He had the option of simply admitting what he did OR murdering three people and getting rid of their bodies. To you admitting what he did was the easier option. We’ve spent months trying to show that that’s not what he thought. [And been accused of blaming the victim several times].

            The same explanation, frankly, applies to both the first and second confessions. The cops had caught him, and in the second instance, he’d already been convicted, sentenced and was in jail. So when the cops asked him what happened, the easy option was simply to say what had happened wasn’t it? DING DING DING. Wrong. That wasn’t the easy option for him. Lying is the easy option for him just as it is for most people on any uncomfortable or awkward or compromising topic.

            It’s a shame you get so snippy with contributors on TCRS>>>It is a shame. You’ll notice the coverage here is ending, so you’ll be free to head elsewhere. Please don’t mistake comments as contributions. A contribution is when an effort is made to research the case, and some investment is made to think about the case.
            It is irritating when people come here six or seven months into the case who clearly haven’t thought about it. TCRS isn’t just about thinking, it’s about intelligent people thinking intelligently.
            From my side, after writing 7 books about the case, it’s annoying to see so many idiotic myths persisting around the case, among them: “Why didn’t he just get divorced?” There’s a reason why not, not a good one, and not one worth murdering for, and not one you or I find reasonable, but there is a reason. So to go on and on shaking your head and asking the same question [“why didn’t he just get divorced?”] is simply to admit you’re not willing or able to make the effort to try to answer the question or understand the merits of this case on its own terms. If that’s true, then this site was never meant for you in the first place. It’s meant for people who care about finding answers, the #1 answer being why [why is the mission of this TCRS as stated on the landing page]. Your still being stuck on “why didn’t he just get divorced?” shows after 6-7 months, the research here, and the 7 books have been a complete and utterly failure in answering that question.

        • Ralph Oscar

          “I NEED you to tell me.”

          Hmm…is that code for “If you want a divorce, it will be amicable; I’ll find cheaper daycare for the kids and go back to work and we’ll sell the house and share joint custody 50-50 and maybe we can get apartments next door to each other to make it easier for us to co-parent the kids”?

  5. Sideaffected

    That’s a good case to compare it to. That is a very good juxtaposition of a man who sort of simultaneously committed first degree-murder and “lost it”. In comparison, the Watts case feels cold, and hollow. I see Smith as red hot rage and Watts as icy-sure there’s simmering anger buried under the “regular, nice” guy, but I’d say the primary emotion he was battling was fear-of being found out and exposed, of his compartmentalized lives coming out. Of course two days later the crimes themselves exposed this “nice guy” as being more than a cad or a deadbeat Dad.

    There’s also more greed here than wrath if you want to go biblical. Not much emotion in that. The emotions I’ve seen in him are anxiety, I’ve seen him cry once (“I’m going to fucking prison”) which is sadness for self/self-pity, and the anger I’ve seen in him comes out very subtly-his text messages after burying SW (“Fresh lol”) show contempt and spite. Passive-aggressive. In short I think his crime was about him being a huge pussy. Ppl don’t like SW for calling him on this but she was right.

  6. Sylvester

    Let’s try humiliation, over time.

  7. Sylvester

    With Watts you have to read between the lines. This struck me as I read above – something he disclosed in the context of the second confession, telling Coder, Baumhover and Lee the why of it. “It was like picturing someone around you, holding you and keeping you from letting go.” They might have assumed he was talking about his rage, his blanking out, the moment he got on top of her and couldn’t stop (I doubt that though, hadn’t Coder sympathized before confession #1 what a controlling spouse might have been like)? Listening to what Watts said a different way wasn’t he describing his relationship with Shan’ann and his marriage? Didn’t he say he always felt nervous around her? Wasn’t she in essence holding him and keeping him from letting go and being himself? The bossing around, the controlling, telling him to get some balls and deal with his parents, mismanaging the funds. If that was going on for 6-8 years what happens to your spirit, your soul. Isn’t it effectively crushed? He goes 5 weeks without it and he can start to breathe, there wasn’t anyone holding his hands.

  8. Aaren

    Fear. Fear of losing Kessinger. Fear of coming clean to his wife. Fear of the impending new baby. Fear of what everyone would about a man who would separate from his pregnant wife. Fear.

    • nickvdl

      We have a winner.

      Fear also explains not only Watts’ chronic introversion, but his default setting – his cowardice. And as someone mentioned, the fear makes the humiliation he felt – and feared – so much worse, and worth murdering to protect himself against.

  9. Sylvester

    Watts seems calm after the murders – like a big weight has been removed. Then, some sort of elation on the porch, a little stammering here and there but that’s not unusual when you have first heard or found your voice. Some nervousness as well when he’s being questioned in his home – an officer on one side of him another on the other, firing questions. Who wouldn’t be. No more so-called rage though, he’s put the slow burn out. I think even now he would say it had to be done, and that he was justified but of course to others he would say he’s sorry and didn’t know what he was thinking. Would he take it all back? Only if he could exist on the outside and be with Nichole K. but not – not if it meant he would have to return to the way things were, still married to Shan’ann, with the kids. He wouldn’t want that back.

  10. Maura

    In addition to being motivated by fear I think Chris was influenced by his lust for NK. She had been the first woman to pursue him. She was able to manipulate him while his family was away and kept pushing him to choose them or her. She won only not in the way she had thought such as Chris getting divorced.

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