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Why the Second Confession Scenario as Dramatized in FAMILY MAN, FAMILY MURDERER is full of crap

There’s zero analysis, zero interpretation, zero insight in FAMILY MAN, FAMILY MURDERER’s version of the Watts Family Murders. They simply repeat Watts’ dodgy second version – verbatim – and dramatize it as if his words are gospel. They use the Second Confession as-is as their script.

This is very useful for us because we get to see an illustrated version for why it’s full of crap.

This won’t be a thorough analysis, and I won’t even do a decent statement analysis here; this will be a very light skip-through of the obvious details. Once we’re done, we’ll do something similar with the version of the murders at CERVI 319.

Worth playing for?

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So it starts off with Watts basically admitting that he’s not a confrontational guy. This is accurate. He’s an introvert and he likes to stay under the radar and “go with the flow”. Of course the way he murders Shan’ann in his version isn’t go-with-the-flow, is it? Go-with-the-flow would be her arriving home late, sleeping, and him going-with-the-flow of letting her sleep and dealing with issues in the morning or after work.

We know from Watts’ first interviews with the Feds that he doesn’t just tell the truth. He fudges, he minimizes, he misdirects. When interrogated, he also goes-with-the-flow. That’s one reason he did the polygraph, he was just going-with-the-flow. He doesn’t volunteer anything if he doesn’t have to…

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What’s wrong with this scenario? Well, it’s silent. Watts’ feels something, and it seems to be dark, and nothing is actually said. They have wordless sex. Really? Do you think Shan’ann would return from her trip and not say anything, not even greet him, and just have sex? She’s been distraught and felt ill the whole weekend, but that’s all behind her. And afterwards, do they both just fall asleep?


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Maybe not.

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For Watts to wake up later in the morning it means he has sex at around 02:00 and then, despite the huge shadow hanging over the bedroom, they both sleep soundly for two hours. Neither of them struggles to sleep or confronts the other or talks to the other. Shan’ann doesn’t even consult the baby monitors. She comes back from her trip, has sex and falls asleep.

In this version, they’ve been together for some hours now, in the same bed, and haven’t apparently spoken about anything. In this version all Shan’ann is is a dark shadowy sensation that still hasn’t washed either after her arrival from the airport, or after sex. For Shan’ann all this is very unlikely.

What’s also missing, and it’s an oversight from the interrogators, is how Shan’ann ended up in her shirt [not the one she was wearing when she returned from the airport]. So when did that happen?

In the Second Confession there are 4 references to shirts. Here they are:

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Also, in the dramatization, the bedside light on the right is on. Was a light on? Did neighbors see a light on? Does Watts mention anything about a light being on?

After having sex, Watts doesn’t go with the flow, he breaks the flow and fesses up. He doesn’t want to, but he does. He’s just that kind of honest, straight-up guy. Really?Fullscreen capture 20190604 020755Fullscreen capture 20190604 020757Fullscreen capture 20190604 020759Fullscreen capture 20190604 020802Fullscreen capture 20190604 020804Fullscreen capture 20190604 020806


This version makes it sound like they spoke quietly about whether he was having an affair. They’d had flat-our screaming matches, but now they’re going to talk quietly about the end of their worlds?

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There’s still no screaming, it’s all still very-measured. And Shan’ann doesn’t fight back. She sees him coming, sees him getting onto her, faces him, sees his intent and just LETS him strangle her.Fullscreen capture 20190604 020828Fullscreen capture 20190604 020849Fullscreen capture 20190604 020851Fullscreen capture 20190604 020856

There’s no premeditation, and no trigger.

There was something on my mind…but I had no control. And it takes about 5 minutes to strangle someone to death. That’s a long time to have no control. You can have no control for 5 seconds, or 10, but try not having control for an entire minute, then another minute, then another…

He “just snapped”?

While this is happening she makes it worse, and she’s still talking. No shouting. No fighting. No struggling. He’s facing her and she’s facing him and she just lies there. And he’s allowed to continue. And no blood is found in the sheets, no semen – is any DNA found?*

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The trigger for Watts is Shan’nn saying these terrifying words:

You’re never gonna see your kids again.

Watts had been away from his own children for 5 weeks and this suited him just fine while he was embroiled in his affair, having hot sex several times a day. We don’t get a sense that he missed them, or that they missed him much. Even when he arrived at the airport Bella apparently ran away from him, screaming.

But now he’s gutted that he’ll never see his children again? [He’s so gutted about this that he later kills them too!]

But one of the biggest clues to why this scenario doesn’t work is also one of the most subtle.

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After killing her, Shan’ann’s suddenly facing the other way in bed. Now she’s face down. How did she get face down? Why’s she face down? In an authentic scenario it makes sense that he’d strangle her with her facing the other way. It also makes sense why neither of them have defensive wounds.

*Shan’ann did inflict a wound – to Watts’ neck.


  1. Sylvester

    And didn’t he originally say he came from behind? In this version it’s full frontal attack where he’s straddling her, pining her down. This means he lied to Ronnie too since he told Ronnie he did the same thing to her she had done to the girls. On those nightly calls to the prison I wonder if Ronnie has asked his son why he told him a lie because in the first version she was killed in Celeste’s bed, not her own.

  2. Sylvester

    What are we looking for when these television documentaries or specials, air? Answers – or Choice? Certainly Henry Schleiff – ID, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination president has the credentials and background of accomplishments up the producer’s ladder to give us a show at least he can be proud of and he said so himself he wanted to put together the show because this was a uniquely tragic case. But discerning viewers don’t look too favorably at presenting a scenario as fact that comes from the murderer or liar’s mouth. Schleiff was likely bound by his own ID Investigative television formula. What I would like to see is a version of the “uniquely tragic case” put forward by an independent filmmaker. How would Roman Polanski treat the Watts case, or Martin Scorcese, or Brian de Palma? Scorcese said he reads the dialogue first with no idea how he’s going to shoot the scene. He wants to get an idea from what the characters are saying. Then he formulates a scene. De Palma reads the script but starts to see the shot. He uses a memory board to visualize all of the shots he’s going to make based on the story and how he sees it in his mind. Polanski of course teeters on the edge of reality so that you begin to question what you are seeing – but you have a choice to believe or not believe.

    No one will be able to portray this case accurately when what they are attempting to pitch is a reality recreation of what they think Watts did based on his own muddled and murky second confession. Wouldn’t these investigative documentaries do a better job if their goal was to promote thought, questions, and a deeper analysis then what we saw last Sunday night? Perhaps they could take a lesson from some of our great independent filmmakers and show it as art – then let the audience decide if it’s real.

    • nickvdl

      Or we could do the recreation ourselves. Use the scenarios in the TWO FACE series to develop a script for those reenactments.

    • Debby Zabriskie

      Did you read in the plea deal ShaAnns cause of death?

  3. Laura Thompson

    Disclaimer: I didn’t watch the program last Sunday, largely because we got rid of cable awhile back, but I had other options to see it, had I wanted to. I just knew it would piss me off, with the usual lack of fact-checking and reliance on the lying lies of a known lying liar who lies. So, I can’t comment on its actual content, but, I am intrigued by the idea you just put forth about an independent or even established and respected filmmaker doing a treatment of the case.

    Awhile back, Netflix put on a program called “Casting Jon Benet”, wherein at the end, they portrayed several different versions of what might have/could have transpired. Even a show like that would have more validity than the usual fare seen on ID, (which I actually really enjoy, not going to lie, at least many of their programs.)

    On his YouTube channel, True Crime Loser put forth some ideas for certain scenes, were a film ever to be made about the case, and even though he was mostly kidding around, his ideas were great!

    Perhaps we avid True Crime Rocket Science afficianados could crowdsource the funds to make the movie *we* want to see!

    • nickvdl

      Sounds like a plan. We could even make some moolah while we’re at it, if we execute well. Who else is in?

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