At 09:12 in the Devil in Disguise clip you can hear Nickole’s 911 call.
At 09:12 in the Devil in Disguise clip you can hear Nickole’s 911 call.
Below is a rough collection of media snippets and information collected on Christopher Watts. This list will be updated so be sure to leave a comment with anything you know that should be added to it.
Mid-to-end AUGUST 2018
…detectives believe Watts killed his children first and then killed his 15-week pregnant wife, the Daily Mail reports. According to police documents, Shan’ann was killed on August 13, the same day she returned home from an out-of-state business trip. The charges allege that Watts killed Bella and Celeste “between and including August 12 and August 13”. One way to determine if the children had been killed earlier is to test the cadaver traces. A stronger scent would obviously indicate an earlier death.
16. Arie King is the brother of Shan’ann’s first husband. Arie King told 9News.com in mid-August 2018: “I am sick over it, honestly. Any family she has here in North Carolina, we are heartbroken.” What was her first husband’s name and occupation? Why did they divorce?
17. The following neighbors have been identified thus far: Colleen Hendrickson, Ann Watt and Bette Marcoux. According to Marcoux:
Watts’ truck was on when she left for the gym early Monday. She goes to the gym at 5:15 a.m. five days each week, she said, and hadn’t noticed him heading out somewhere at that time before. The night before, he was barbecuing, she said.
18. Public records show that they were each arrested multiple times in North Carolina – he three times and her 15 times – but the charges in the arrests are not known. – Daily Mail, August 17. This could explain why the couple left North Carolina in such a hurry, and sold their house with all their furniture still inside. On the other hand, it’s possible the Daily Mail confused Shan’ann Watts with Shannon Ann Watts, a 28-year-old woman arrested 3 times and facing 16 charges in North Carolina.
This snippet was provided by one of the regular visitors to this blog, thanks Pauline.
19. More reason to believe Chris Watts could be bisexual comes via a profile posted on Adam4Adam, and the profile picture, showing a man with a goatee. The couch in the rear of the picture also looks like the same couch the 3 foot doll was modeled onto.
Unless he updated his waist size [last login was April 2008] but didn’t change his age, the waist size is also off.
The area code for Denver Colorado is 80205. Check of this profile for Bi-Guy #80205. Star sign Gemini [21 May – 21 June] Chris Watts’ birthday is May 17, 1985.
20. The Walk to the top of an oil tank & Actual Photos of Anadarco Oil Tank Site.
21. Police have found hundreds of hairs in the trunk of Chris Watss’ truck. It sounds like hair fragments, which suggests the hair was cut or shaved. If true, it’s a clear sign of processing a body, which invokes the idea of planning and premeditation.
22. Published on September 10th TWO FACE – the first definitive account of the case.
137. Defense attorneys for a Frederick man accused of killing his wife and daughters have filed a motion asking the government to investigate whether the prosecution has made extrajudicial statements or tried to prevent the spread of prejudicial information. What this means is the authorities are accused of leaking evidence to the media and thus potentially prejudicing a jury trial. Stan Garnett, the former district attorney for Boulder County, said it is not unusual for the defense to raise such issues early on, especially in high-profile cases.
While it’s standard to point out potential to prejudice a jury , Garnett said the wording of the motion — requiring “the government” to investigate the issue — is unusual.
It raises an issue, as the district attorney’s office is part of the executive branch of the state.
“If you’re asking them to be investigated, who would do it?” Garnett said. – timescall.com
23. 18CR2003 The People of the State of Colorado v. Christopher Lee Watts case archive.
24. Ashley Bell, a close friend of Shanann Watts who owns a tanning salon, said she got to know her because she was a customer.
Bell said the gender reveal party was supposed to be held at the Watts’ family home on August 18. Amanda Thayer’s daughter Emily was also meant to sleepover at the Watts’ home that weekend.
140. “He didn’t have a plan. Things unfolded so quickly that he was trapped with no alternative but to cooperate with the reporters [in his TV interviews]. I don’t think he anticipated that a friend of his wife would so quickly alert authorities to her failing to show up for a scheduled medical appointment and was not at the house on Monday.” – Philip Stinson, criminologist
25: Nickole Utoft Atkinson found out Chris Watts planned to separate from Shan’ann on the morning she disappeared, when she called him to find out whether he knew where she was.
“I didn’t find out that they were going to separate or anything like that until I called Chris that morning,” she told ABC (who credited her as Nicole Atkinson). “When I called him [August 13 at noon] and asked him where she was, that’s when he told me and I basically told him that that wasn’t my [concern] at that particular moment, because it wasn’t and that their business was their business, that they would either work it out or they wouldn’t.”
26. “He was defending himself, but it just didn’t make sense.” – Nickole Atkinson
27. “Things were not how I would think that they were…supposed to be…I guess. I had [inaudible] look in the garage, to see if her car was there and it was there, which was like peculiar, because Shan’ann doesn’t [shurgs] like go places without her car, usually, because both of the girls have car seats. The front door was locked different to the way it normally was. The girl’s beds weren’t made. Shan’ann was very OCD. Everything in her house had a place. Everything was labelled. If something was out of the ordinary it was really out of the ordinary for her.” – Nickole Atkinson
28. When Chris Watts told Nickole Shan’ann was on a playdate with the kids, she immediately wondered why she’d go on a playdate without her car, and why did he know she was on a playdate but couldn’t say who with.
“He just kept saying that he didn’t know where she was and that she was on a playdate. But he couldn’t give us the name of the friend. I knew he had something to do with it the day I was at his house with him, but I didn’t want to think that. Anyone in their right mind will start piecing things together and think something had happened, but you don’t want to go there. You want to believe the best in people.” – Nickole Atkinson
29. “I know that Chris and her were having some issues about three weeks prior to everything happening.” – Nickole Atkinson [But three weeks prior she was in North Carolina with her folks and he was in Colorado].
Watch the interview here.
30. Nichol Kessinger’s father appears to be Dwayne Kessinger, Chris Watts’ boss. The image from his LinkedIn page still exists on Google cache, but appears to have been recently removed from his profile.
31. September 12: Motion to obtain clear and visible Polaroid photograph and digital photographs of both Chris Watts’ right and left hands.
32. Kirk Nurmi [who defended Jodi Arias] weighs in.
33. On September 11 an unsubstantiated rumor on Twitter that Chris was involved with a Thrive colleague of Shan’ann’s surfaced. Josh Rosenberg appears in several images from the San Diego trip. This doesn’t appear to be credible line of inquiry.
34. Chris Watts does appear to have been actively cheating on his wife. Was it with one woman or several? Was it with women, or women and men? One thing is clear, he was paying an inordinate amount of attention to grooming himself in the lead up to this crime.
35. Trent Bolte – the man from Wyoming who claims to have had an affair with Chris Watts – has produced communications suggesting an affair between the two men. Previous screenshots of texts appear to have been fabricated so there’s some reason to believe these might be too. It ought to be very simple to prove whether they were in a months-long relationship – a photo of the two together.
Bolte provided CrimeOnline with screenshots of text messages between him and Watts that appear to support some type of relationship with Watts. Bolte said they were the first text messages he and Watts exchanged away from the MeetMe app. The messages differ starkly in tone from screenshots circulating on social media, purporting to be messages between Watts and Bolte. Bolte is aware of the images that have circulated and insists they have been fabricated, pointing out that the messages indicate the two men met on Tinder, which Bolte says is not true.
37. Chris Watts is very specific at turns during his porch interview. He refers to Shan’ann arriving home at 01:48 [that’s very exact] and Nickole Atkinson calling him at 12:10. He also describes Shan’ann going to bed at 02:00 but not getting much sleep. In a police interrogation he said they’d discussed separating at 04:00 that morning. When he descibes himself leaving, he’s vague – it’s between 05:15 and 05:30. In fact he left at 05:37. This specificity is indicative of planning. He’s finely tuned to exact times, just as he had to be to the evolving pregnancy and the deteriorating numbers on their balance sheet.
38: CHRIS: I mean…could she have van- [interrupts himself]. Could she have just taken off, I dunno. But if someone has her and they’re not safe, I want them back now.
He starts off saying “could she have vanished” then tailors that to something better: “Could she have taken off? Could someone have taken her…” He’s doing this to seed the audience’s mind with the most credible alternative to what’s actually happened, to what he knows has actually happened.
39. As part of ongoing research into this case, I contacted a guy I’ve known since school who went from being in law enforcement to working for the oil and gas industry. I sent him information on the Anardarko oil site, and asked for his input on what the conditions are inside a tank. I will address some of the insights in a separate blog post, but a few things that stood out from our discussion included the following:
40. More photographs of Chris Watts with Shan’ann during her other pregnancies.
41. When were Bella and Celeste last seen alive? From early reports it seems this could have been at a birthday party in Erie on Sunday, August 12. Erie is less than 20 minutes drive east of Frederick.
The Watts’ home on Saratoga Trail was about half that distance to the Lindstrom’s house in Erie.
The party was held by Jeremy Lindstrom for his 5-year-old son. Chris Watts was there, and so were his two daughters.
Murder suspect Chris Watts and his two little girls, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celste, were just at Lindstrom’s home for Jeremy’s little boy’s birthday party. The girls were happy. They were normal. And, so was Chris. Or so it seemed.
“He would reach out and help anybody that needed help with anything,” Lindstrom said. “He was a good mechanic if you needed help with your car – he’d help you. If you needed help with furniture, he’d be over there in a heartbeat to help you out. You don’t know what, when, why, where or how everything goes weird.”
42. Should the DA pursue a death penalty in this case?
According to Colorado law, a district attorney has 63 days from the date of an arraignment to determine whether to pursue capital punishment in a murder case. An arraignment hearing isn’t on the docket yet and won’t be scheduled until Watts’ next hearing in November. – Denver Post
43. Photos of Chris Watts as a young man:
44. More photos of Shan’ann during previous pregnancies and the aftermath after giving birth.
45. Chris Watts isn’t talking to his family, even though he has nothing else to do except sleep all day. He’s not allowed reading material or television, and has virtually no one to talk to except the prison guards who look in on him every 15 minutes as part of an ongoing suicide watch.
If Chris Watts isn’t talking to family this may be because:
We know Chris Watts’ dad flew in to see his son at around the time of his arrest and confession. We don’t know much more than that – who Watts senior is, what he does etc. We do have a photo of him at the house on Saratoga Trail, however.
46. Shan’ann’s father was in court during the initial hearing, and was memorably emotional about the fate of his daughter and granddaughters. Chris Watts’ father, evidently wasn’t in court, even though he possibly was in town. Interestingly, neither of the mothers were in court, perhaps because they couldn’t all afford to travel.
47. On September 17, 2018 District Attorney Michael J. Rourke vehemently opposed the release of autopsy reports on the basis of “injury to the public interest”. As the motion notes, autopsy reports are public documents, so Rourke is likely to have an uphill battle withholding them from the public and also from the media, until November.
The motion is explicit in that all three victims were dead when they were moved from the crime scene [the Watts residence]. The District Attorney notes that the cause of death has not yet been made public. I’m not sure that’s accurate.
Police and prosecutors have not said officially how any of them died, though court records suggested they were strangled. – Denver Channel
Besides that, Chris Watts has suggested the same and that irrespective of who committed murder, it was murder by strangling. Possibly this isn’t accurate, but even if it isn’t, the defense attorneys will be in possession of the same facts. It may be that by going through the motions of putting forward this motion, the District Attorney wishes to be seen as being responsible and conservative, as opposed to purposefully and recklessly leaking sensitive documents.
Given the high profile nature of this case, it seems a stretch to imagine October will go by without even a redacted version at least being made public, as occurred in the Ramsey case which also had a sensitive autopsy-situation.
In the Ramsey case it took as long as seven months for portions of the autopsy to be made available, prior to any hearing. In that case there was an army of lawyers and a reluctant prosecutor’s office holding the tides at bay, and ultimately they succeeded – the case never went to criminal court.
An example of a redacted autopsy report [although minimally redacted] is the autopsy of Travis Alexander, the infamous murder victim of Jodi Arias.
Back to the Watts case: the District Attorney, through this motion, also appear to be concerned about autopsy results tainting witness testimonies and “impacting” potential jurors. By handing this over to the court, the prosecutor’s office effectively keeps their side of the story clean, and the onus for the release then lies on the partiality of the presiding Judge.
48. HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield interviews Richard Hodges, a former college roommate Chris Watts. This is going back more than 13 years – approximately 2003 – 2005. What was he like? “Straight as an arrow,” according to Hodges. It doesn’t seem like he intended this as a double entendre on the word straight.
Hodges describes Watts as very dedicated, and he does look the part of the dedicated husband – washing dishes, mowing the lawn, keeping fit etc. But Hodges goes further, describing Watts as a dude that didn’t go out partying when everyone else did. He was “very hard on himself” according to Hodges.
Banfield raises an interesting point when Hodges admits he was the closest to Watts out of their group of friends, and that even they weren’t really close. They weren’t Facebook pals either.
“Chris was quiet. He was pretty reserved. But not in like…what I would say a negative fashion….He was more of the kind of guy who you become friends with…out of like…happenstance. We were obviously friends because we were in classes together, and that’s how we ended up meeting. He very very rarely went out with us, so maybe that contributed to it…He wanted to get those good grades. He wanted to do well. So he would never do anything to jeopardize that like partying, or drinking…”
163. Just in from the Longmont Times-Call, a daily newspaper serving Northern Colorado, prosecutors are asking the court to order Watts to provide ink footprints [as opposed to fingerprints]. This is according to court documents filed on September 18th.
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke wrote in the motion that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has “developed possible bare foot impressions” from “items of evidence.” The items of evidence are not described in the motion, but Rourke does say they were collected at the scene where police found the bodies of 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her children, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. – Longmont Times-Call
49. Ashleigh Banfield interviews a tech expert on the data her Apple series 3 watch may have stored [automatically uploaded to the cloud] in the last hours of her life. Apple watches automatically record movement and effort level. Both Shan’ann and Chris had these expensive Apple watches. Banfield raises a good point. The data rests in the cloud for 30 days, and that period has now passed since she died. Have prosecutors managed to extract the data in time?
50. In an order oddly dated two days from now, Judge Kopcow denies Chris Watts’ request to investigate leaks by the law enforcement.
166. Chris Watts has also refused to consent to DNA tests citing lack of probable cause.
51. Chris Watts case: Expert says ‘trace DNA’ could be found on daughters’ bodies – this turns out to be lousy clickbait, with a play on the word “could”. The article isn’t about stating that trace DNA was found as fact, but that it could [foreseeable] be found. The news cycle seems to be slowing down and drying up.
The only useful point in the above article notes that both sides are being very thorough because this is lining up to be a death penalty case.
52. In the same way that the Denver Channel appears to be using suggestive language to lure clickbait, the Daily Camera is at as well.
Their article on Chris Watts defense attorneys accusing the DA of “withholding evidence” is actually another version of the story that the DA don’t want to release the autopsy evidence to the public.
53. If his adultery [adulteries] played a significant role in why he committed murder [murders?], then Chris Watts must be aching to see his lover/lovers. But to do so could wreck his legal case if the “list” were made public. Something of a conundrum, right?
A judge has denied the request of an accused Colorado killer to keep the names of all his jail visitors under seal. – Daily Mail
54. The autopsy results must be submitted to court no later than today [under seal] – September 25th.
The prosecution meanwhile is already doing all it [can] to keep the autopsy reports under seal…
55. Meanwhile, on HLN:
The above discussion analyses the importance of bruise patterns on the children’s necks. In the Amanda Knox case, the bruises on Meredith Kercher’s neck were so clear, investigators were able to tell that they matched the size and shape of a woman’s fingers. But it’s no as conclusive as a fingerprint unless there’s DNA present as well.
Far more key, in terms of evidence, will be the autopsy results, particularly the food contents of the girls’ stomachs. It could turn on whether the birthday cake treats from Sunday were still in their digestive tracts or not when they were killed.
56. Many were expecting the arrival – if not the release – of the autopsy reports today. At noon the Denver Post confirmed that according to the prosecution, the autopsy reports were not available.
57. According to the Coloradoan the court has ordered WELD DA to release autopsy results to Chris Watts’ attorneys.
58. There appears to be unprecedented interest in gaining access to the autopsy results of the four victims. Not only have media made their intentions clear, but members of the public as well. Media is apparently calling the Weld County Coroner’s Office on a daily basis.
59. Shan’ann made a Facebook page for Bella when she was born. From the list of 38 friends on Bella’s page, some are family and several list themselves as “Brand Promoter at Le-Vel”. The page lists her favorite sports teams as the Pittsburgh Steelers, and her favorite music as Bruno Mars. Final activity on the page was on May 24th, 2014.
60. Chris Watts isn’t supposed to have access to any media reports, but apparantly he’s aware of how “infamously famous” his case has become, including internationally.
Watts has said he feels the public doesn’t know the full story, the source says. “He feels like no one understands him, and nobody knows what happened,” says the source. “He thinks if they did understand, they’d realize that he’s not the monster everyone says he is.” – People
My personal view is that he’s right that most people don’t understand who he really is, but I’m not sure that makes what he did any less monstrous.
61. Large moving truck arrives at Saratoga Drive. Shan’ann’s father Frank seen moving a bed-frame and mirror into it under police supervision. An unknown 30-year-old woman was with him.
62. More than ten days after posting my analysis on the access hatches on Shakedown, HLN has decided to cover it.
Some factoids that emerged from the interview with the petroleum engineering professor:
The only problem with this line of questioning is this, which is a screengrab taken from the video below, depicting a bird’s eye view of the setup similar to CERVI 319.
If that’s an access ladder it suggest there’s enough space not only for a child, but for an adult technician to descend into it. Here’s another diagram showing the internal ladder but not connected directly to any access hatch.
It’s difficult to make out on the HLN image; the angle doesn’t show a stairway leading to the top of the oil tanks, and clearly there was one. The reverse angle does show the staircase.
The below image is of a “floating roof” tank. Although that’s not the sort of tank design at CERVI 319, the design in the floating roof does allow for a hatch with a ladder through it.
63. Image of Deeter posted to Shan’ann’s Instagram.
64. HLN interviews Matt Francis, Shan’ann’s high school teacher. Francis describes “being very impressed with how she did Facebook Live…and how she’d become such an encourager”. He also describes Shan’ann as having come a long way. “You’d be amazed at how far she’s come. She’s a wonderful, beautiful human being…she was a very insecure young lady who didn’t have a lot of friends when I met her at 14-years-old.” She was also teased a lot – humiliated – while in high school.
Francis pronounces Shan’ann’s name as Shanna ‘ann, and says she didn’t correct his mispronunciation of her name in three years.
Francis also describes Shan’ann as “thriving” while under her tutelage. Methinks he’s just another dude that’s drunk a little too much of the MLM Kool-Aid.
65. Chris Watts is inmate #360519 in a Greeley Colorado jail cell.
66. HLN noted in late September that Chris Watts made numerous complaints to the Judge about press leaks. He referred specifically to many complaints but apparently had no comment about People magazine articles discussing his affairs, including with another man.
67: “Listen, everything about this case is over the top. And I think it’s because nothing about this case makes sense. You don’t typically have an accused family annihilator with a background like Chris Watts, with a wife like Chris Watts, with children like Chris Watts. With Facebook pages like Chris Watts. A guy like this who everbody, I mean literally everyone who we contacted, has said, ‘This is not…the guy.” – Ashley Banfield, September 29th, 2018
There’s as good a description as you’ll find for a man with two faces.
1. TWO FACE BENEATH THE OIL is published on October 1st, 2018, exactly 3 weeks after the first book in the K9 series. The second book digs far deeper into issues of identity, backstory and the motives for the murders.
The second book also presents a possible scenario for the murder of Shan’ann Watts, including where in the house it may have taken place, and how it was executed.
2. It appears CERVI 319 is situated on the Guttersen Ranch, a 35,000 acre-ranch 10 miles sutheast of Kersey, which holds Guttersen’s family homestead, barns.,outbuildings and horses. The ranch also is a working cattle ranch with about 3,000 head of cattle that run between Guttersen’s and an adjoining ranch to the east.
3. The autopsy reports of Shan’ann, Bella and Celeste were released today [October 2nd] by the Weld County District Court in Greeley, Colorado. However, as per Judge’s order, the autopsy results remain under seal because of potential “substantial injury to the public interest.”
4. Motion for an emergency hearing. This appears to be about time-sensitive inheritance law. Shan’ann died intestate [without leaving a will], and so, under normal circumstances the surviving spouse would inherit. Life insurance policies of Bella and Celeste will probably be disputed.
6. Almost two months after the murders, HLN continues to provide bumper-to-bumper coverage of the Watts case.
7. Retired Detective Karen Smith explains why she thinks the bizarre location of Shanann’s phone upstairs beneath couch cushions was no accident.
Smith goes about as far to say the phone was deliberately placed between the cushions but no further.
The real issue about where the phone is relates to the murder scene in the house. Was it right there? Did it fall onto the couch during a tussle at the landing on the top of the stairs? Did Chris Watts put it there with some fictitious scenario in mind?
8. On October 5th, an emergency court hearing took place over the phone between Shan’ann Watts’ family and Chris Watts. Oh to have been a fly on the wall. Would a recording exist somewhere?
9. Frank Rzucek senior, Shan’ann’s father, has been identified as the executor of her estate. Chris Watts didn’t object to this.
10. To be confirmed: some have suggested on reddit that Sandi Onorati was a co-signer on the Watts mortgage.
11. Records for the sale of the home show that Chris obtained the home and the loan solely, adding Shanann later to the title possibly via quitclaim deed methods. [I] saw a discussion on FB from a realtor that explained when lenders find out that a home owner has done this, they can call the note out and demand it be paid in full or the home will be foreclosed on. Usually this goes undetected…until you get behind on payments or say an HOA agency decides to file a lien against the home for failure of nonpayment. – reddit
12. After several direct complaints about unfair victim blaming, reddit bans TCRS from posting Chris Watts-related content to its True Crime page.
Fancy that – a true crime blog banned from a true crime discussion page.
13. The news cycle on the Watts case has slowed to the crawl. The best People magazine have been able to come up with this week is a story about the artifacts the triple murder accused has with him in his cell.: A bible and a family photo.
14. Chris Watts’ defense counsel seems to be placing it on record that media coverage to date has already tainted a jury. He doesn’t seem opposed to the release of the autopsy report however, saying he’s satisfied to leave this to the discretion of the court.
This could be a ploy by the defense. On the other hand, if Watts is innocent of killing the children, he may wish the media to have access to the reports.
15. There’s a contention on social media that the tweet below was ‘liked’ by Cirs Watts’ protected account hours before the murders. Have requested confirmation on this claim.
16. Ashleigh Banfield is a little behind the curve in dealing with the family dynamic. But finally, about 10 days into October, almost two months after the murders, she does.
If I may be so bold, the reluctance to deal with the family dynamic this early [or this late] by HLN may be because they’re trying to set up the first phase of the narrative of the fairy tale family, and Shan’ann as a beautiful, innocent victim.
No one is arguing that, but of course as soon as you begin to probe issues around the dynamics, you’re invariably going to figure out the good and bad stuff of the parties involved. You’re going to find out who these people are, warts and all.
If you’re serious about true crime, you do that at the beginning. It should not be about playing out a narrative to manipulate/suck in viewers.
17. Did dad’s work truck lead cops to bodies?
Is everyone forgetting that a) Chris Watts has already confessed to killing Shan’ann? Or b) the bodies have been recovered because he told law enforcement where they were, and we know exactly where they were from the affidavit. And c) there is video surveillance footage showing Watts truck backing into the garage and leaving.
So a tracking device is nice to know, but about as useful as whether the sun was shining that day or not.
The real reason the cops knew Watts was involved was because the video surveillance showed Shan’ann arrive but never showed her leave. But it recorded Watts’ truck leaving. So if Shan’ann wasn’t home, and she wasn’t seen leaving, how else could she have left? QED.
18. The Watts family home has been confirmed as 1107 Vass Road.
More details here.
20. Sherry Wiens appears to have dug out some of the first pictures of Chris Watts’ mother Cindy Watts.
21. Watts Home: 1st & 2nd floor plans.
22. HLN releases material from Shan’ann’s “heartbreaking” blog.
23. Bella sleeping and baby monitor screengrabs.
24. Family grave site. Was Niko buried with Shan’ann?
25. On Friday October 12th, Weld Count District Court denied Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke’s request to keep the autopsies of 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and two children, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste sealed, saying it lacked “subject matter jurisdiction” on the issue.
More info here.
26. Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch has already communicated his intentions in terms of the Watts family autopsy reports. He intends to file a response between October 15 and 17 to state his intention not to release the autopsy reports.
27. On October 12th, Weld County Court provided the first receipt for sealed visitor logs involving the defendant [Chris Watts].
28. Predicted at #25 but here’s confirmation:
29. The Weld County Coroner filed a petition Monday requesting the court keep the autopsy reports of Shanann Watts and her children sealed at this time.
Carl Blesch, Weld County coroner, stated in a news release Monday that a hearing on the request to seal the reports has not yet been set.
The autopsy reports were completed Oct. 1, but the Weld County District Attorney had filed a motion in Weld County District Court requesting they be kept from the public.
The court ruled against the district attorney’s request, citing a request filed by three statewide associations representing the media, the Colorado Press Association, the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Steven Zansberg, an attorney for Ballard Spahr, LLP in Denver who is representing the three associations, said previously that they plan to oppose any future filings to seal the reports. Zansberg did not return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon. Jill Farschman, CEO of the Colorado Press Association, declined to comment until she could speak with the other two organizations. – Times-Call
30. Things are certainly getting more and more unusual in the Watts case. Now Watts wants privacy around a sealed motion based on a health insurance law that protects private information. But this only applies to living people…
31. Not sure what to make of this latest legal document in The People of the State of Colorado v. Christopher Lee Watts
MR. WATTS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A PLEADING UNDER SEAL
PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2016-04, AND FURTHER REQUEST
TO HOLD AN EX PARTE HEARING ON THE ISSUE
The attorney representing three state media associations that petitioned against an initial request to seal the autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her children said the associations will oppose the latest effort to keep the autopsies from public view.
Steven Zansberg, a media attorney for Ballard Spahr, LLP in Denver, said that while his clients are “glad that the case is proceeding properly,” they still plan to oppose the new petition to seal the autopsies, now filed by the Weld County Coroner’s Office.
Zansberg plans to attend a hearing on the petition, which, because by law it must be set at “the earliest practical time,” he expects will take place before Thanksgiving. Zansberg is the attorney for Prairie Mountain Media Publishing, which includes the Times-Call and the Boulder Daily Camera. The two papers also are members of the Colorado Press Association.
In his motion, Rourke said the autopsies contain information that would be “critical evidence” at the trial, and that early release of that evidence could taint potential jurors or witnesses that have yet to be interviewed. Zansberg said that argument does not meet the burden of substantial injury to the public, which must be proven to withhold public documents subject to open records requests.
The argument that releasing the autopsies would make interviewing witnesses or finding a jury more difficult “is true anytime autopsy reports are released before trial,” he said. “That’s a categorical rule, not unique to circumstances of this one trial.”
He also disagreed with the prosecution’s argument that releasing the autopsies would compromise witness interviews. Typically, that’s usually argued at the onset of a case, before a suspect is arrested or charged for the crime, according to Zansberg.
33. The latest People magazine article analyzes the impact of oil on DNA:
“The prosecution sees it as necessary to try to use as another nail in the coffin, basically but the DNA by itself is really not all that informative in these kinds of cases.” – Dr. Phil Danielson, a professor at the University of Denver’s Department of Biological Sciences who specializes in DNA collection and analysis
In short, this is not going to be a DNA case. One of the most important factors will be time of death. Food contents in the stomach, if there is any, and clothing, if the kids and Shan’ann were wearing any, will prove more decisive in calculating time of death.
34. On October 19th, Chris Watts’ defense submit a three page civil motion requesting that disclosure of the autopsy reports be denied to the media and the public. Excerpts of the report [full report here] are as follows:
CHRISTOPHER WATTS, through his attorneys hereby moves this Honorable Court to hold a hearing on the government’s proffered reason for wanting to deny disclosure of the autopsies in this matter. As grounds for this motion, Mr. Watts states:
2. Out of an abundance of caution, Mr. Watts files this motion before this court, as well. If the court denies Mr. Watts’ motion in 18CV30907, Mr. Watts respectfully moves this court to hold a hearing on whether the release of the autopsies “could result in tainting witnesses that have not yet been interviewed” as the government claimed in its Motion [L] at paragraph 3.
3. As stated in Mr. Watts’ notice (D-039), the government’s alternative claim that the results of the autopsies will taint potential jurors is groundless – the results will almost assuredly be revealed in court proceedings well in advance of trial.
4. However, counsel for Mr. Watts remains concerned about the government’s spurious claims related to tainting witnesses who have yet to be interviewed. Counsel remains specifically concerned that the government possesses information that the defense does not have.
What this reveals is that the defense wants to know which witnesses the state prosecutor has or has yet to interview. Interesting legal arm twist here.
5. It is not clear if the government’s assertion means that it has knowledge that witnesses may change their testimony once they see the coroner’s opinion. It is not clear which witnesses the government knows about who have not been interviewed that may have that reaction to the opinion of the coroner. It is not clear what information the government possesses that would lead them to that conclusion. Perhaps more importantly, it is now clear that no party in the civil case has an interest in developing the record about this specious claim. According to the petition filed in
18CV30907, the coroner (whose office is ostensibly independent from the district attorney’s) “concurs with the District Attorney’s reasoning” and has “no reason to doubt [the] District Attorney . . . .” 18CV30907, VERIFIED PETITION IN RE: THE REQUEST OF THE GREELEY TRIBUNE FOR CERTAIN RECORDS PURSUANT TO THE
COLORADO OPEN RECORDS ACT, C.R.S. §§ 24-72-201, ET. SEQ., at ¶¶ 13, 14.
Counsel for Mr. Watts cannot share the coroner’s apparent confidence. The coroner’s naked deference to the government has therefore made clear that he has no interest in challenging the government’s judgement; consequently, he has no interest in investigating and ferreting out the validity of its claim. Mr. Watts does.
It’s interesting how the defense are shooting warning shots over the bow, basically alleging that the coroner is in cahoots with the district attorney’s office. The tone of the motion also indicates the tone of Chris Watts’ defense – it’s defiant!
7. The respondents to the action may have some interest in determining the validity of the government’s witness claim. But, their interest can, of course, be no greater than that of Mr. Watts. Mr. Watts is constitutionally entitled to know and meaningfully challenge the evidence and witnesses against him and to have and make use of any and all information related to their veracity or credibility. See e.g., COLO. CONST. art. II, §§ 16, 20, and 25; U.S. CONST. amends. V, VI, VIII, XIV; Washington v. Texas, 388 U.S. 14 (1967); Giglio v. U.S., 405 U.S. 150, 154-55 (1972); People v. Bueno, 626 P.2d 1167, 1169 (Colo. App. 1981); Crane v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 683, 690 (1986).
8. Because the government’s claim that the release of the autopsies may taint witnesses who have not been interviewed seems to suggest there are witnesses that the government knows who may slant or change their testimony based on the autopsy results, Mr. Watts has an obvious and substantial interest in developing the record on that claim. In addition, because that result, if true, has a direct effect on the criminal proceedings in this case, this court, should the court in 18CV30907 deny Mr. Watts’ request to intervene, must hold a hearing in this case.
9. Even more concerning, though, the coroner requested the court in 18CV30907 allow him to offer specifics about his agreement with the district attorney “under seal to the Court or in a closed hearing . . . .” 18CV30907, VERIFIED PETITION IN RE: THE REQUEST OF THE GREELEY TRIBUNE FOR CERTAIN RECORDS PURSUANT TO THE COLORADO OPEN RECORDS ACT, C.R.S. §§ 24-72-201, ET. SEQ., at ¶¶ 16. If the court were to allow this extraordinary request, Mr. Watts would be denied the opportunity not only to challenge the evidence but also, and obviously more egregiously, to even know what the evidence is.
10. Because of these realities, the court here should hold a hearing on these matters.
11. Albeit in different contexts, the Supreme Court of Colorado has acknowledged a need to protect “the integrity of the fact-finding process, the fairness or appearance of fairness of trial, . . . [and the] public trust or confidence in the criminal justice system.” People v.
Rodriguez, 914 P.2d 230, 290 (Colo. 1996).
14. Here, if the civil court denies the request to intervene, due process requires this Honorable Court to hold a hearing anyway. Denying such a hearing continues to erode and undermine Mr. Watts’ rights to meet and defend the accusations against him, to learn of constitutionally significant evidence, and, ultimately, to a fundamentally fair proceeding comporting with due process of law. COLO. CONST. art. II, §§ 16, 20, 23, and 25; U.S. CONST. amends. V, VI, VIII, and XIV.
15. The High Court has put it most succinctly: “the fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.” Mathews, 424 U.S. at 333 (internal citations and punctuation omitted). Mr. Watts moves this Honorable Court to afford him such an opportunity.
WHEREFORE, Mr. Watts is entitled to the relief requested in this motion. Mr. Watts files this motion, and makes all other motions and objections in this case, whether or not specifically noted at the time of making the motion or objection, on the following grounds and authorities: the Due Process Clause, the Right to a Fair Trial by an Impartial Jury, the Rights to Counsel, Equal Protection, Confrontation, and Compulsory Process, the Rights to Remain Silent and to Appeal, and the Right to be Free from Cruel and Unusual Punishment, pursuant to the Federal and Colorado Constitutions generally, and specifically, the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitutions, and Article II, sections 3, 6, 7, 10, 11,
16, 18, 20, 23, 25 and 28 of the Colorado Constitution.
The right to be free from Cruel and Unusual Punishment. What about Shan’ann, Bella and Celeste’s rights? To be free from being murdered by a husband and father?
37. TCRS claims the Watts dog Deeter raised the alarm. The dog’s frantic barking on the morning of the murders caused Nickole Atkinson to call the police to do a wellness check.
39. Christopher Watts’ attorneys want Weld DA out of autopsy battle – Greeley Tribune
40. Update: Court rules Watts attorneys, Weld DA CAN join legal scrap over autopsy reports – Greeley Tribune
41. In an informal poll on a Chris Watts Facebook Group, 70% say they believe Chris Watts’ version of events that there was an argument just prior to the murders.
44. The hearing on the autopsy reports for Shan’ann and her two daughters will take place at 09:00 on December 21st before Weld District Court Judge Todd Taylor.
The status conference to determine the dates of the criminal trial is on November 19th at the same venue.
1.If Christopher Watts is found not guilty, it’s “extremely likely” Shanann Watts’ family would file a civil lawsuit alleging he is responsible for her wrongful death. – Denver Post
The Weld District Attorney’s Office announced late Friday that Frederick triple murder suspect Christopher Watts will appear Tuesday in Weld District Court for a status conference.The hearing is scheduled for 30 minutes beginning at 2 p.m. in Division 17. The district attorney’s office didn’t release any other information.
Watts wasn’t scheduled to return to court until 10:30 a.m. Nov. 19 for a status conference in Division 16. That court appearance remained on the docket as of Friday afternoon.
Is it just bad luck that this hearing has been moved to the same day the US media will be preoccupied with the Midterm elections? In true crime there is no such thing as coincidence.
According to CBSDenver:
The District Attorney’s Office did not release why the status hearing was moved to an earlier date.
3. Speculation continues to swirl around Tuesday’s court appearance. Is Watts going to be offered a plea bargain? Or is the hearing simply timed to avoid a tusnami of news coverage. Or, is it just a random scheduling change?
5. TCRS – as you’d expect – called the plea deal long before anyone else did. In the lead up to the hearing, TCRS posted several blogs on the issue.
When the hearing commenced, just prior to the official announcement by the media, TCRS called it once again. Within two minutes of this tweet, Carol McKinley and all the other media followed suit and made it official.
8. Nickole Atkinson posts message on Facebook on the day of the trial forgiving Chris Watts:
9. The media have already started applying for expanded coverage of the sentencing hearing, set for November 19th at 10:00.
“Chris had to come to terms with reality,” the source reportedly said. “He didn’t like it at all, but he’s smart enough to know that his back was against the wall, and the best thing for him to do was to plead guilty.”
According to People, the source said, Watts was furious at having to enter the guilty plea.
“His story didn’t work. He got angry,” the source said. “… It took a little bit of time for him to come around, but he did.”
The North Carolina couple said they are just trying to find the truth and are frustrated because they say they weren’t allowed to get those answers before their son’s plea agreement.
12. Chris Watts’ parents accuse Shan’ann was being abusive, isolating him and changing him. They also told ABC13 their son was a normal guy who loved sports.
Read more on this:
13. To date Cindy Watts has been quoted by the Denver Post, The Daily Beast and the Times-Call saying: “I know he confessed, but he was railroaded into it.” It’s fascinating that the District Attorney hasn’t responded directly to these allegations thus far. Playing for time?
“It was a very hard relationship…I couldn’t do anything right.” – Cindy Watts
15. TCRS publishes TWO FACE TWO POLLYANNAS, the 3rd book in the groundbreaking series on the Watts Family Murders. On November 14th the first “review” is posted on Instagram.
16. Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said there is a way to withdraw a plea before sentencing, but does not believe it will happen in this case.
“Remember the mother is not in a position to withdraw the plea,” Steinberg said. “The mother can scream and yell and do everything she wants. Maybe it’s appropriate, maybe it’s not, but ultimately it’s his decision after sitting and talking to his lawyers.
“There is a rule, rule 32 allows the withdraw of plea prior to sentencing if there is a fair and just reason.I don’t know what the fair and just reason is here. So do I think there is a likelihood that any judge would allow him to withdraw the plea? The answer is no.” – KDVR.com
17. More than three months after her murder, the mainstream media still haven’t figured out how to spell Shan’ann’s name.
18. “Bella was just like Chris…shy, cautious, conservative…” – Cindy Watts
19. A flurry of motions and a letter have been recently added to the Chris Watts case file 18CR2003:
|11/12/2018||LETTER FILED BY K ALMAND|
|11/13/2018||MR WATTS OBJECTION TO REQUESTS FOR EXPANDED MEDIA FILED ON NOVEMBER 6 AND 7, 2018|
|11/13/2018||ORDER REGARDING EMAIL LETTER RECEIVED BY COURT (C23)|
|11/14/2018||ORDER CONCERNING REQUEST FOR EXPANDED MEDIA COVERAGE (C24)|
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke has been clear that Chris Watts thus far has only provided a “partial motive”.
There are some odd things about the circumstances surrounding the plea deal Chris Watts struck with prosecutors, according to Law&Crime Network host and former Morris County, N.J. head prosecutor Bob Bianchi. Circumstances that he would never have allowed to happen under his watch.
“What I do find to be unusual in this case … is that I would have required a proffer session with the defendant, where he would have sat down in order to be spared the death penalty,” Bianchi said. “He would have spilled the beans on everything, from A to Z, we would have known what the motive is, which we don’t know right now, and he would have clearly allocuted in court, got up and said this is why I did it.”
22. The Watts children attended the prestigious [and expensive] Primrose School in Erie twice a week. Bella was murdered a week before she was due to start kindergarten full-time. Primrose is about 14 minutes drive due south from #2825 Saratoga Trail.
23. For Monday’s sentencing hearing, no “electronics” [cell phones, twitter] are permitted in court.
24. The Livestream link for Monday’s sentencing hearing.
25. Cindy Watts has admitted she didn’t attend Chris Watts’ wedding to Shan’ann on November 3rd, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
26. There is a rumor of a letter Chris Watts wrote, saying if anything happens to him, look at Shan’ann.
27. On October 6th, in a post titled Inside the Mind of His Mistress, I wrote:
If his mistress is the daughter of his boss, then a brand new dynamic emerges with various possibilities of their own. The most obvious is that Anadarko will wish to limit damage to their brand through adverse press coverage not just of one wayward employee, but three. Anadarko may ultimately be calling the shots on what the mistress and her dad’s next move should be.
Now, six weeks later, Nichol Kessinger has confirmed she is the “mystery mistress” in a carefully contrived exclusive published today by the Denver Post. Nicely buried in the 1313 word scoop is this:
Kessinger was working in the environmental department with an Anadarko Petroleum contractor when the two met, she said during a Thursday morning interview in the office of her lawyer, Ed Hopkins.
Ed Hopkins is a privacy attorney based in Denver, specializing in libel and slander.
According to Hopkin’s website:
We investigate, prosecute, and defend complex civil claims involving defamation, deceptive and unfair trade practices, slander, trade libel, false advertising, invasion of privacy, breach of confidentiality, wiretapping, eavesdropping, computer hacking, data theft, trade secrets theft, revenge porn, sextortion, cyberstalking, racketeering, and Title IX actions.
28. After a month-long hiatus [at least] HLN returns to the Watts case with a special report titled “Secrets, Lies and Family Massacre”.
Two experts, one of them Stan Garnett, weigh in about why it’s such a great idea not to try the Watts case in a court of law. Garnett is a pro at not taking cases to court [like the JonBenet Ramsey case] so I’m sure he’s pleased with this result.
30. Chris Watts’ parents retain legal counsel, but Judge Kopcow rules he’s not allowed to petition the court on their behalf during the sentencing hearing.
19th Judicial District Court Judge Marcelo A. Kopcow ruled that Cindy and Ronnie Watts should be able to speak in court Monday and deliver victim impact statements in which they could ask the judge for a more-lenient sentence for their son. They can also deliver such statements through a designee, according to the judge’s order.
Judge Kopcow wrote that state law affords the two the right to do so because they are the paternal grandparents of Bella and Celeste, whom Chris Watts pleaded guilty to killing in August along with their mother and his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts.
But Kopcow ruled that the attorney for the two won’t be allowed to address the court.
30. Watts family murders: Chris Watts scheduled to be sentenced Monday – Denver Channel
The headline of the article below oozes bias doesn’t it? Technically it’s true, of course, but is really true that she’s going to attend court just to say that?
Rourke said that investigators never believed that Watts was being entirely truthful.
“The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann — falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie — has been corrected,” Rourke said. “The spotlight shines directly where it belongs: On him.”
31. The article below goes into a lot of detail trying to figure out why the Watts case is so compelling. It’s compelling simply because it provides a devastating scenario of the perfect middle-class fairy tale facing destruction. Through this crime we intuit the security [or insecurity] of our own fairy tales wherever we are in the suburbs.
Peterson never confessed, but was ultimately found guilty, based on circumstantial evidence and, not incidentally, the testimony of Amber Frey, which had decidedly turned the public against him. One California radio station, for instance, put up a billboard with a Peterson mugshot framed with the question “Man or Monster?” and asked listeners to weigh in on his guilt or innocence. “Trapped by His Lies,” was People’s cover story headline, wrapping up the melodrama. The actual guilty verdict rendered through the court was so unsurprising that it didn’t even merit a full cover. The verdict was celebrated nationwide, and passersby honked their car horns and clapped outside the courtroom.
Ultimately, the decisions or verdicts in these cases are simply taken as after-the-fact proof that the criminal justice system works. This is despite the fact that it’s the minivan majority’s identification with the lost lives of these innocent, pregnant white women that mobilizes so many resourcesand brings the glaring media spotlight that keeps even prosecutors under constant scrutiny.
Read more on this topic: #ChrisWatts Why does it fascinate us?
The bigger and better the fairy tale, the more lavish and picture-perfect the homes and neighborhoods, the more handsome the man and beautiful his wife, the more adorable the children the more difficult it is to reconcile when a nightmare unfolds inside of it, or perhaps because of it.
Judge Kopcow handed down the sentences after an emotional hearing in which Shanann’s parents and brother both testified and called Watts a “monster.” Watts’ parents also testified, saying they had not received all the information about their son’s plea deal before they spoke to media, including Denver7, last week.
“You don’t know what love is because if you did, you would not have killed them, you monster,” Rzucek told Watts, who stared downward throughout the hearing.
A family representative spoke on behalf of Shanann’s brother, Frankie Rzucek Jr., who said that Watts wasn’t worth the time it took to put pen to paper and that he prayed Watts would “never have a moment’s rest.”
Shanann’s mother, Sandra Rzucek, thanked law enforcement and prosecutors for their “exceptional work” on the case and after admonishing Watts for breaking theirs and Shanann’s trust, acknowledged that she and the rest of the family had asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty for Watts – a request that was granted by prosecutors.
“I didn’t want death for you,” Sandra said. “Your life is between you and God now, and I pray that he has mercy on you.”
19th Judicial District Attorney Michael Rourke told the court of new details in the case that had not been publicly released before in attempting to show the court how Watts, 33, “totally and deliberately ended four lives” in a calculated manner.
He noted that Watts had smothered both 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella, and that Bella had fought back against him. He said that he didn’t think Watts would ever tell the truth about what truly happened but that they had enough information to piece the case together.
After killing all three, Rourke said, Watts planned which oil and gas site he would dump their bodies at. Rourke said “Bella and Celeste were thrown away” and put in different crude oil tanks so they could not be together even in death. Rourke also noted that Watts had to shove his daughter’s bodies into the tanks and that investigators found scratch marks on one of the girl’s bodies and tufts of hair on the opening to one of the oil tanks – all in an attempt to show the court how careless Watts was in his actions.
“Prison for the remainder of his life is exactly where he belongs for murdering his entire family,” Rourke told the judge before the final sentences were handed down.
Through a family lawyer, Watts’ parents, Cindy and Ronnie Watts, also addressed the court.
The representative also said that Watts’ parents are looking for an explanation and a confession from their son and said they were looking for “an appropriate time and manner” for that to occur so both families “can have peace to understand details they need answered.”
Cindy Watts also spoke separately, saying she was “still struggling to understand how and why this tragedy occurred” and asking for “peace and healing” for both families.
She addressed her son directly, though he did not look up at her or acknowledge her.
“We have loved you from the beginning and we still love you now,” she said. “This might be hard for some to understand how I can sit here under these circumstances and tell you all we are heartbroken. We love you. Maybe you can’t believe it either.”
Both she and her husband said they forgave their son and that they would never abandon him.
After Rourke spoke, Judge Kopcow took the opportunity to go back over the charges and said Watts should face the maximum penalty because it was the worst case he’d seen in his time on the bench.
“I’ve been a judicial officer starting my 17th year and could objectively say that this is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen, and nothing less than a maximum sentence would be appropriate,” Kopcow said.
34. Autopsy Reports:
35. Post Sentencing Press Conference
36. Chris Watts’ mother, Cindy Watts, questions son’s plea deal [FULL VIDEO]
37. Excellent detailed summary of the entire sentencing hearing via the Coloradoan:
The parents of both Shanann and Christopher Watts are in the courtroom, per initial statements by District Attorney Michael Rourke. Judge Marcelo Kopcow is speaking to attendees about expectations of demeanor during what he expects to be an “emotional” sentencing hearing.
Christopher Watts is wearing an orange jail outfit and eyeglasses, and is seated between his representation.
Frank Rzucek, Shanann Watts’ father, is first to make a statement in the hearing.
“I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them,” Rzucek said to Christopher Watts, calling him a “heartless monster” while reading a written statement.
Christopher Watts, seated behind the podium where Rzucek is speaking, is slightly hunched over, biting his lip while Rzucek speaks. “Love you, Papa and Dad,” Rzucek says through tears while speaking about his slain daughter and granddaughters.
Read the rest here: Christopher Watts murder sentencing: Here’s what we know
Earlier this month, Watts entered a guilty plea. Next, his mother came forward to argue for him to rescind his confession, since she didn’t believe he was capable of such brutality. She was followed into the spotlight by Watts’s mistress, Nichol Kessinger, who said she thought he was divorced and castigated him for lying to her throughout their relationship.
This multiplicity of voices, as well as the assorted plot twists and plenty of family photos of the sort seen here, are just what producers of true-crime programming need to transform headline-making offenses into compelling storytelling — and Colorado stories have gotten such treatment again and again in recent years.
39. Further coverage of the sentencing trial:
40. The Watts family were represented at the sentencing hearing by Jean Powers, a Denver based attorney.
42. The Frenulum is the flap of skin under the the upper lip damaged in Bella’s mouth.
There is also a frenulum under the tongue.
FREDERICK — A dusting of snow covered the sidewalks and driveways Monday morning in what was the Watts’ neighborhood. Folks living close by walked their dogs around the block and greeted family as they arrived for Thanksgiving. It was mostly quiet — a far cry from the flurry in the immediate aftermath of the August killings of Shanann, Celeste and Bella Watts.
Shortly after 33-year-old Christopher Watts killed his pregnant wife and young daughters and dumped their bodies on a Weld County oilfield, hundreds of people streamed into the Watts neighborhood to take part in a candlelight vigil honoring Shanann, her unborn son Nico, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.
Vigil attendees set stuffed teddy bears, unicorns, mermaids, lambs, balloons, notes and flowers in front of the Watts house on Saratoga Trail.
But on Monday, the family’s yard was clear of toys, notes and flowers. Only faded purple ribbons honoring the family, tied around street lamps and trees throughout the neighborhood and other parts of Frederick, remained…
At the press conference that took place after the sentencing, Rourke said that two big questions still remain even as the long investigation has led the authorities toward an understanding of the truth behind both of the mysteries.
He said: “How? And why? Those are the questions that will always haunt anyone who was involved in the investigation.” Rourke also said, however: “I don’t think he’ll ever answer those questions. Like I said in the courtroom this morning, and I think [Shan’ann’s] family said it very, very well as well: I don’t think he will ever tell us. I don’t think he will give an honest assessment of why he did what he did, how he did what he did.”
48. ‘About as big as it gets:’ Gravity of lifetime sentence for Watts not lost on Weld DA – Greeley Tribune
“I was as nervous as I could be,” Rourke said. “Media outlets from all over the country were following this (case), and I knew if I didn’t stand up and do a professional job for the victim’s family and for everyone who worked on this case it was going to make us look like buffoons.”
“We talked about the point where we thought we would get an emotional response from the gallery and that’s exactly what we got when I said the girls had been smothered.”
Turns out Rourke and Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch had a compelling reason to keep the autopsy reports under wraps.
As has now been widely reported, Shanann had a blood-alcohol content of .128 percent at the time of her autopsy. Although a raised BAC is a natural part of the decomposition process, Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death and Rourke worried the media would spin that information to raise suspicions about her innocence.
Not to be overlooked, Shanann had just returned from a work trip the night she was killed, which meant investigators needed to confirm she hadn’t been drinking by interviewing anyone and everyone she might have come into contact with in Arizona, at the airport and even on the airplane.
“Had there been reports in the media that Shanann had a BAC of .128, it might have made people question what they had seen,” Rourke said. “Because those reports had not been made public, everyone we interviewed was certain that they never saw Shanann drinking anything other than water.”
It struck a particularly painful chord when photos of the oil tanks were relayed to his office. One of the photos is of an open hatch at the top of a crude oil tank. An investigator had placed a ruler across the opening to very clearly show it was only eight inches in diameter.
By the time Rourke received those photos, Watts was at the Frederick Police Department telling authorities where they could find the bodies of his wife and two daughters. The information that Watts stuffed his daughters into two tanks on Anadarko property in rural Weld County near Hudson was relayed to officers in the field. The response among those at the scene, as well as by Rourke, was universally the same.
“I remember thinking, ‘This can’t possibly be true,” Rourke said. “Then you look and you realize there’s really no other way into that tank.”
The only other way in and out of the tank is through a panel on the back. The unfortunate Anadarko employees who responded to assist law enforcement with the recovery of the bodies had massive power tools to remove the heavy-duty bolts used to keep the tank from leaking.
Watts didn’t have those power tools and even if he did, opening the larger panel on the back would have caused oil to go all over the ground, Rourke said.
“The day he hit the jail, he tried to call his dad once, but for some reason the call didn’t go through,” Rourke said. “He didn’t make another phone call. We checked everyday to listen to his jail calls. He didn’t call anyone.”
49. Discovery Documents [REDACTED] 1960 Pages
Kessinger told police she does not think she is the only catalyst for the sequence of events. She does, however, believe that being in Chris’s life may have “accelerated the process.” She feels “money is the biggest catalyst for this event happening.”
In that same interview, Kessinger said she could not think of a reason for why Chris would have hurt his children. She continues, “The only thing she could think of was that the kids may have seen him killing Shanann so he chose to kill them as well.”
Shannan to Chris problems:
August 5, 2018
2234 hours: Shanann added (to Chris), “Being away from you, it’s not the help I missed because I handle that. lt was exhausting, but with school that’s not hard. I missed the smell of you, you touching me when l’m cooking, you touching me in bed, you touching me period! I missed holding you and snuggling with you. I missed eating with you, watching tv with you. I missed staring at you, I missed making love with you. I missed everything about you. I couldn’t wait to touch you, hold you, kiss you, make love to you, smell you, laugh with you. I couldn’t wait to celebrate 8 years with you… lf you are done, don’t love me, don’t want to work this out, not happy anymore and only staying because of kids, I NEED you to tell me.”
2300 hours: Shanann asked Watts, “Would you stay with me if we didn’t have kids?”
2309 hours: Shanann asked Watts, “l just don’t get it. You don’t fall out of love in 5 weeks.” Minutes later she pondered, “How can you sleep? Our marriage is crumbling in front of us and you can sleep.”
Problems with in-laws
p. 2085 July 9, 2018
2015 hours: Shanann discussed how Watts’ mother gave Celeste ice cream with nuts in the ingredients. Shanann felt this was done in defiance of Shanann’s warnings of Celeste’s food allergies. Shanann told Watts, “You should call your dad and tell him you did not appreciate your mom putting your daughter at risk today, nor do you like that she teased our girls. You should also say you don’t appreciate her saying they have to learn they can’t always get what they want! (Referring to ice cream) they are 2 and 4!
Shannan discusses marital problems
July 24, 2018
1802 hours: Shanann told Watts, “l realized during this trip what’s missing in our relationship! lt’s only one way emotions and feelings. I can’t come back like this. I need you to meet me halfway. You don’t consider others at all, nor think about others feelings.” Watts replied that he was sorry and he loves her. Shanann responded, “l try to give you space, but while you are working and living the bachelor life l’m carrying our 3rd and fighting with our two kids daily and trying to work and make money. lt’s not hard texting love you and miss you. lf you don’t mean it then I get it, but we need to talk. I kept looking at my phone all night and no response from you. Like seriously! We didn’t just start dating yesterday! We’ve been together 8 years and have 2.5 kids together.”
In a phone search conducted by authorities, investigators found searches on Kessinger’s phone for sexual videos and positions, hours’ worth of searches for “Shanann Watts,” searches including “can cops trace text messages” after the murders, searches for Amber Frey (the mistress of convicted murderer Scott Peterson), if “people hate Amber Frey,” and Frey’s subsequent book deal.
August 13, 2018 (CBS4 note: This contains lyrics from a song which Chris Watts looked up on Google the lyrics include: “- lunacy has found me – Cannot stop the battery – Pounding out aggression – Turns into obsession – Cannot kill the battery – Cannot kill the family .“
“While in North Carolina, Celeste had a birthday party. Chris’s mother and father didn’t show up, and also didn’t text Shanann or Chris. Since that time, Chris started to get distant from Shanann. Shanann thought Chris’s parents loved the other grandkids more than Celeste and Bella. It was a burden for them to talk to Celeste and Bella. Chris’s parents also did not attend Shanann’s and Chris’s wedding. Chris told Shanann that Shanann was putting a barrier between Chris and his dad.
“Chris told Shanann that they were no longer compatible. Chris told her he didn’t want the baby; he just wanted it to be the two girls. Chris told her he wasn’t sure if he wanted a third child. Shanann asked Chris why he wanted another child if he felt that way about her. He said he thought it would fix the relationship. … Prior to the North Carolina trip, Shanann and Chris were both happy, and Chris was excited about the baby.
“Chris said he was considering separating from Shanann. Shanann asked Chris to see a therapist but he refused. Shanann was 100% against separation. Chris wouldn’t talk to her.”
An early police report details the couples’ ongoing financial issues. Chris Watts told officers when they first searched the house that “…he couldn’t log in to check the bank accounts because she does the finances.He said he knows the password but not the user name.” The report continues, “Chris advised if there was a stock pile of cash in the house he would not have known about it.”
Watts’ father Ronnie told investigators that his son “described Shanann as controlling, narcissistic and possible bi-polar,” though he had not seen any verbal of physical altercations between Chris and Shanann.
52. Chris Watts confessed after approximately six hours of interrogation. When he did, he confessed to his father.
53. Frank Rzucek Facetimed with Chris Watts on Sunday evening. The time is not noted.
54. Chris Watts overheard a conversation between Troy McCoy and Kodi Roberts regarding a gas leak at CERVI 319 on Friday August 10th, just after dropping Shan’ann off at the airport.
55. Law enforcement measured Ceecee’s hips at 9.5 inches wide at their narrowest, and Ceecee was the smaller of the two children. The opening to the thief hatch was 8 inches wide.
In a text sent to her friend Ady, Shannon wrote out the entire speech she planned to deliver on Monday, after she had returned home and gotten some rest.
‘Can you please tell me something, because just like you, I’m in my head? I try to fix things and make them better and this is making me crazy. I know that you need time. I want to give you what you’re asking for and respect your space, I need some time. This place that I’m in, in my head, is not a good place,’ read the text.
‘It is not healthy for me, or Niko. I need you to help me help you. I need you to give just a little bit of what I did, or didn’t do, so I’m not going crazy in my head to figure it out. I know I can’t fix this by myself; that, we are going to have to work together.’
She then got on a plane and was not heard from again after her friend dropped her off at home. Watts would later send a text to her phone just before 8am asking where she was, shortly after he buried her body in a shallow grave.
64. New mugshot released.
66. CBI interrogation of Trent Bolte and Damian Ferns [Discovery Documents from page 740 onwards].
67. Chris Watts appears to have gained 40 pounds [18 kilograms] in a remarkably short period of time.
1. Amanda McMahon Interview.
2. Chris Watts’ life in county jail
3. Chris Watts transferred from Colorado to an out of state prison, sources say – Denver Channel
But no one knows where.
5. Remembering Shan’ann Watts ABC 20/20
6. Chris Watts prisoner Referral Form
10. The Devil in Disguise 20/20
11. Chris Watts prison transfer analyzed.
12. Dr Phil Coverage of Watts case.
13. Chris Watts canteen receipt [December 14]:
14. Home Where Chris Watts Slaughtered His Family On Auction Block – RadarOnline
16. Watts home to be sold at foreclosure auction on April 17.
Watts has not hired an attorney in the case and has not filed a single document in the suit since it was filed, court records show. The Rzuceks filed a motion for default judgment on Monday, court records show. A default judgment can be awarded if the defendant doesn’t respond to a suit, triggering an automatic win for the plaintiffs.
“He has failed to answer the case against him,” according to Steven Lambert, an attorney with Greeley’s Grant & Hoffman Law Firm, who is representing Shanann’s parents. Lambert said he expects the judge to make a decision on the motion in the next week or two.
If the judge finds that Watts is in default, the court will next have a hearing in which a jury decides how much money the Rzuceks should be awarded in damages.Watts likely will appear by telephone for that hearing, Lambert said.
3. Trinastich surveillance camera.
2. Complete Audio of Chris Watts’ “Second Confession” [Includes Audio Subsections related to Specific Areas of the Crime]
1. Chris Watts: YouTuber Releases Tranche of New Photos from Weld County
2. TCRS publishes TWO FACE EPILOGUE – the 9th and final book in the bestselling TWO FACE series.
2. TCRS publishes the first book in a new SILVER FOX trilogy series unpacking some of the new “revelations”.
3. Kathleen Hewtson’s book on Cindy Watts [the first four chapters] are leaked online. The book is subsequently scrapped.
Kathleen Hewtson later makes a separate chapter exclusively available to TCRS which subsequently appears in the last section of SILVER FOX WEDDED HUSBAND, WEDDED WIFE, published in early 2020.
1. Psychotherapist Lena Derhally publishes My Daddy is Hero.
1. Lead detective Dave Baumhover starts a blog as a way to share his experiences with PTSD.
2. On January 25th Lifetime Movie airs CHRIS WATTS CONFESSIONS OF A KILLER. The dramatization only recreates the murder of Shan’ann Watts.
3. The Rzuceks, through their lawyers, communicate their unhappiness about the movie, primarily the fact that they weren’t consulted.
4. TCRS’ Facebook accounts are disabled with no explanation.
1. TCRS publishes the second book in the SILVER FOX trilogy.
2. Baumhover publishes his second post on his blog, starting with a a notice that conspiracy nuts will be banned. Same deal on CrimeRocket!
FACT COUNTER: 300+ as of January 2020