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Tag: Ronnie Watts

Connecting the dots to Chris Watts' Second Confession: What's Going On?

Part of the mission of TCRS – in fact a very big part – is figuring shit out before anyone else does. This isn’t easy, and it’s a risky business because in time one can just as easily be proved wrong. But if we’re as smart and as informed as we believe we are [and there are quite a few true crime gurus here, as well as the odd true crime Rocket Scientist], then we have to be brave, step forward and take on the challenge. So let’s do that.
What we know so far about this “second confession”?

  1. Three of the key investigators and interrogators in this case flew to Wisconsin to [insert the preferred term here] Chris Watts.
  2. This occurred on February 18th, 2018
  3. Chris Watts has taken a plea deal, and since November 19th his status on that hasn’t changed.

All of that is stating the obvious, with the key riddle what word to put inside those brackets.
The less obvious but nevertheless logical aspect to this is the timing of it.  I noticed the chronology of the meeting corresponds very closely to when HLN broke with exclusive doorbell footage of Shan’ann Watts’ final moments when she arrived home. Did it have something to do with that? Had online chatter finally gotten under the skin of Weld County? Possible. Not likely.
Digging deeper into the chronology, into the basic legal status of this case, we’re aware that even though the criminal trial has reached the end of the road, another legal process is currently underway. And on February 13th we heard that Chris Watts wasn’t going to oppose the civil trial against him.
Just as he did during the interrogation and the sentencing trial, Watts has caved on his own story and given his full-co-operation [apparently]. He’s behaving like a “good criminal”, if there is such a thing. One could almost say he’s being a “dutiful son” just as he was a dutiful husband and father right up until the murders, or just dutiful, except it doesn’t appear Watts’ father is too happy about where things are going. He’s expressed “confusion” just as Watts’ mother did ahead of the plea deal.
Remember that?
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But there’s a strange mismatch here.  Watts’ parents don’t seem to know what’s going on, or approve of what’s going on, while at the same time Ronnie is getting in some positive PR saying his son his reading the bible and everything is over and done with. I’m sure they wish it was, but the case isn’t over and done with. Far from it.
Clearly, Watts denying killing his own children [and their grandchildren] makes them look less bad, and their son too. So it’s in their interest to “believe” in his innocence, and not be interested in further developments even though at the sentencing hearing, the opposite was said:
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Read more on this at this link.
Note that Watts’ parents don’t say they accept that Watts had committed the murders [plural], the unnamed representative says this for them, on their behalf.  There also seems to be seeding of the mob by letting them know an explanation might come out at an appropriate time and manner.
Well, this is the appropriate time, and we’ll get to the appropriate manner in a moment.
Of course immediately after the sentencing hearing, what happened? The Rzuceks through their attorney filed their civil suit. On the same day.
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Note how the Denver Post article above was published on November 27th, eight days after the wrongful suit was filed. By delaying the announcement someone is trying to muddy the processes underway behind the scenes. Obviously announcing the suit on November 19th would gain maximum traction and provide the public and the media with something to “look forward to” as it were, going into Christmas. But that’s not what this case wants. It doesn’t want attention. Justice yes. Public interest no.

Read more on the filing of the civil suit at this link.

District Attorney Michael Rourke gave interviews throughout the afternoon and evening of November 19th, following the sentencing, and either pleaded ignorance of the status of the Rzucek family, or he was ignorant.
Given the closeness between the DA’s office and the Rzuceks, it seems difficult to believe the DA’s office wouldn’t know about the civil suit, giving the high profile nature of the case and the mere fact that as prosecutors they’re pretty familiar with legal protocols and processes. Even so Rourke assured the public then that “he will never tell us the truth about why…”

There is also the mismatch between Frankie’s response to the news of the second confession and Watts’ father’s response. Frankie appears emotional as is often the case with Frankie on social media, but there is a sense of righteous indignation in his post – see, I told you Shan’ann was INNOCENT. 
Shan’ann’s innocence isn’t in dispute, certainly not here at TCRS. So coming back to the riddle, what happened on February 18th at DCI?
Watts wasn’t interviewed. He wasn’t interrogated either. And since his legal status hasn’t changed since the sentencing, or since the interview, it is possible he provided information on the crimes he was accused of committing. And I think he did so through a deposition.
Although Coder, Lee and Baumhover are present, probably there were a number of lawyers present as well. It’s interesting, if it was a deposition, then the way it’s being communicated in the media is as a confession, which is kinda misleading wouldn’t you say? [The Greeley Tribune describes the information as “revealed in an interview to law enforcement…”]
The deposition process may allow the lawyers involved in the civil trial to conclude the legal process almost as a formality, with most of the hard work happening behind closed doors.
In the Ramsey case, which also never went to trial, there were also numerous depositions of John Ramsey and his wife Patsy.
We also saw OJ Simpson deposed prior to his civil trial, although he went on to testify at his civil trial, with disastrous results.

More: Why the Civil Case Against O.J. Simpson Would Never Be Enough – Vanity Fair

The intention here appears to be to shutdown media coverage or public interest by having Watts not appear in court, and stirring up enormous public interest all over again. This way, that scenario is mitigated. Clearly a civil case concluded against Watts in this manner is not enough, but we await the details of Watts’ testimony on March 7 with interest nonetheless.

I want to thank one of the commenters here – William – for his contribution to the ideas expressed in this post.
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A closer look at the 7th Tranche

Take another look at the 7th tranche of the Discovery Documents. See anything interesting?

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What this reveals is that Chris Watts actually confessed to his father first, but not before being mindfucked by the CBI for 5-6 hours. I’m not saying the mindfuckery wasn’t sterling interrogation, it was. The officer got what he wanted. And he used Watts relationship with his father to get to the other face of Chris Watts [which is also highlighted at least twice in this section].

I recently posted a blog about folks in true crime being either dwarves or elves. It’s a matter of perception, isn’t it? It’s the ability to study a suspect, or a pile of documents and be able to see what matters, what stands out through a meticulous [some might say tedious] process of questioning, filtering, prioritizing, sorting, separating, labeling and integrating information.

Some have a head for interrogating suspects. They’re one step ahead of the criminal, and they can think on their feet. It’s not easy to be one-step-ahead when in reality, the criminal was there, and he is holding all the cards. So technically, he’s always going to be the mastermind.

In the same way that not every civilian has the stamina to stand in a room and question a suspect for hours on end, without getting lost, not everyone can sit with a page of  numbers and spend all day looking at them and making sense of the numbers on a balance sheet. I can’t. I find accounting mindlessly dull.

The number crunchers often find true crime analysis similarly dull. The one deals with numbers, the other deals with semantics. A decent interrogator is dealing with semantics, psychology and some of the forensic facts.

What we see above is the art of seeing meaning and significance in words and how they are arranged in a particular context. It’s the auditing not of financial statements but criminal statements, and trying to fathom the truth of it [just as an accountant assesses the financial integrity of an individual or business]. And then it’s also using psychological means to push the suspect where he wants to go.

Breaking down a mountain of documents takes time and constant, consistent concentration, but even the sharpest blade isn’t enough.

the sharpest blade is not enough.

It’s not just cutting down the true crime evidence mountain down to size, slicing it into ever smaller, digestible chunks. All of it has to be reassembled again into two new mountains: the mountain of what really happened and the rubble of nonsense, deceit and dead-ends. Or in the modern parlance – setting up the authentic narrative out of an inauthentic one.

As much as the interrogator here has to be commended for breaking Watts and getting him to confess to his father, it was only a partial confession, and let’s face it, law enforcement still don’t know when or how the crime actually happened.

There are very, very few who can analyze the true crime regolith and then recreate from the dust – refashion as it were – the original reality, the original sculpture of truth that was always there but covered, muddied, concealed by smears of paint and smoke and debris in order to conceal, bury and deceive.

Lawyers are supposed to do this in a court of law, but while they’re good at analysis, many aren’t very good storytellers. They’re not visionaries. They can tell you what didn’t happen. They’re very good at attacking and breaking down someone else’s story. They’re shit at joining the dots and coming up a scenario. Often it’s left to a judge, or the minds of a jury, to come up with that part, and if they fail, the narrative fails and the criminal walks.

To come up with the authentic narrative requires both a breaking down kind of thinking and a visionary creative mindset to do this. Analogous to this is the sport of triathlon. Most people are either runners or swimmers, you very rarely get both. People are simply wired one way, that’s how it is. But when someone comes along who is wired differently, you start to see reality peering through.

Not everyone in the world has a head for analysis, and not everyone has the mental stamina – the resilience – to sit with a criminal and get him to talk. Not everyone has the capacity to study an infinite series of documents. But there are some that do and even enjoy it. They’re the elves.

Ronnie and Cindy Watts believe Chris Watts didn’t kill Bella and Celeste, say Shan’ann “changed” him, was abusive and isolated him from his family

A trial means the whole truth comes out, is put under the light. It’s not just the story of the defendant, it also allows the victim’s story to be told. More than anything, it gives the community an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, potentially valuable and meaningful lessons.

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Now, with the sentencing less than a week away, we’re starting to learn that there’s more to the Watts story than we’ve been told. Who Shan’ann really was is the focus now, based on these admissions by Chris Watts’ parents. But are they telling the truth about Shan’ann, or they doing whatever they can to save their 33-year-old son from a desperate fate – life in prison without parole.


According to his parents believe he killed Shan’ann, but not his daughters:

“He did kill her, but the kids, no. It’s very difficult, very difficult. I can’t imagine my son doing that. He couldn’t have done that,” Watts said. Cindy Watts spoke from her home in North Carolina. She says her family is not being allowed to speak to Christopher and she thinks he was coerced by prosecutors into pleading guilty.

“I want to stop it before it’s too late. I want to talk to him. I want to be able to talk to him. I love my son no matter what and I want to fight for him, and I don’t want him to go down for something he didn’t do,” Watts said.


In their interview with ABC13, yet another side of the story has emerged:

Chris’ parents said their son changed once he met Shanann. “He was in sports from when he was 5 until 17 years old,” said Cindy. “There’s not one person you can talk to that will say anything about this kid. He was normal, he didn’t have a temper, he was just easy-going like his Dad. He’s not a monster.”

Chris’ parents said their son’s relationship with Shan’ann was abusive and they felt she isolated Chris from his family in the time they were together.

“It boils down to: I just want the truth of what really happened,” said Ronnie Watts, Chris’ father. “If he did it all, I can live with it. If he didn’t, I want him to fight for it.”

It seems incomprehensible that his parents wouldn’t go down to the jail to talk to their son ahead of the sentencing hearing on November 19. There’s still time to have a change of heart, and they have. But will he?

“Dad, I could not put the girls with her after what she did — I could not put [them] with her” – Chris Watts

Six days after the plea hearing on November 6th, Chris Watts’ parents have spoken out for the first time. I’m surprised they haven’t spoken out sooner. I was also surprised they didn’t make a statement outside court when they were in Greeley. If they were given instructions not to talk to the media, they’ve changed their minds and gone against them now, and they’re right to do so. The right to a fair trial is a basic human right, guaranteed by law and constitution of the United States.

In this case that right does to to be maligned, in the sense that Watts appears to have been manipulated into accepting a plea. It’s also odd that his parents have felt shut out in this process. It’s one thing if the Rzuceks feel a plea suits them, it’s another if Watts parents feel it doesn’t. If it doesn’t they should say so and not stop saying so.

So which schmuck lawyer convinced Watts that pleading guilty was in his own best interest? Even if a jury sentenced him to death [given the circumstances of this case I believe that’s far from certain], it would be a sentence unlikely to be carried out, and one he could appeal against.

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When Denver7 spoke to the Watts family via Skype [by the sounds of it], the reporter asks Ronnie and Cindy, why now?

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Cindy answers, “Because we didn’t know about the plea deal.” Ronnie is looking down when she answers, and doesn’t nod to reinforce that answer. If they truly didn’t know, they should be furious. I believe they did know, but now feel they’ve been misled. It’s okay to say so.

Then Cindy adds: “We were not allowed to talk to him about it.” I’m not sure this is entirely accurate either, because if they visited him in jail, it certainly came up. Probably they didn’t get to discuss the plea deal as openly and completely as they would have liked, or – more likely – they thought they were doing the right thing, and now [a week before the sentencing hearing] they’re having second thoughts. It’s okay to feel that way.

As soon as a defendant feels a particular plea isn’t in his best interest, he’s allowed to rescind it, or to appeal the plea if he does so late in the legal steeplechase.

CINDY: I asked Chris, if you didn’t do this [presumably referring to the murders of the children], do not confess to something you didn’t do. She [referring to Watts’ defense lawyer] she shut me down…she completely shut me down.

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“She” seems to be a reference to Kathryn Herold or Megan Ring.  It’s likely Cindy is accurate on this point. If Watts’ state appointed defense attorneys were pressuring him to take the plea deal, then they wouldn’t want Cindy interfering with that process.

Looking at Ronnie, Cindy recalls her son telling her [them]:

“He said ‘I’m sorry, I lost [interrupts herself…his temper?] I went into a rage [Ronnie mumbles something] and…I killed her.’ And he said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ He said: ‘I’ve ruined your life. I’ve ruined my life.’ “

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It’s interesting watching Ronnie and Cindy together. Cindy takes the initiative. She speaks for the most part while Ronnie takes a back seat. But then when Chris Watts’ father says something, it’s quite a big deal.

RONNIE: Well, he told me, he said ‘Dad, I could not put the girls with her, after what…after what she did.

What did Shan’ann do? Is this a broad reference to her succumbing to the Le-Vel black hole?

RONNIE: He said, ‘I’m not putting her with her [them].’

Ronnie and Cindy both don’t seem surprised by their son’s dislike for Shan’ann. It’s possible they’d known about it for years because Chris Watts had lived it, and they’d also experienced Shan’ann themselves. Beyond the MLM crowds who liked one another on social because there was an incentive in doing so [I scratch your back if you scratch mine], Shan’ann was perhaps an acquired taste.

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When the Denver7 reporter asks Watts’ parents to explain how putting the children in the oil tanks was a gesture of good will, both Ronnie and Cindy are a little caught out. Both answer, speaking over one another, that they still don’t understand that.

His parents are arguing that Watts gave the girls and Shan’ann a different [separate] burial, and seem to be saying through that he showed his disdain for Shan’ann. The oil tanks seems to a more heartless form of burial than a grave in the Earth, so I’m not sure that argument holds. I think it is true that his feelings for Shan’ann differed markedly from his feelings towards his children. I think towards the end Chris Watts really could not stand his wife. Ronnie and Cindy confirming this speaks volumes.

Perhaps responding to the legions on Facebook responding with the knee-jerk catchall [which they apply universally to true crime], Cindy maintains that her son isn’t a psychopath or a sociopath.

When the Denver7 reporter refers to a trigger, he references his own question to Watts during his Sermon on the Porch.

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Watts answered then that they had an emotional conversation but “let’s leave it at that”. Unfortunately the reporter didn’t ask “an emotional conversation about what”? Watts wanted to leave it at that, but if he the reporter had insisted, probably the inference would have been they had an emotional conversation about splitting up.

That’s what the affidavit says.

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When the Denver7 reporter asks Ronnie and Cindy about it, Cindy’s voice rises with emotion:

“He was leaving her.” Ronnie mouthes “leaving her” in the background as well.

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But that’s not the trigger. The separation was a precipitating factor, and as I’ve mentioned in TWO FACE, it was a long time coming. In fact the six weeks Shan’ann spent in North Caroline from the 9th to the 15th week of her pregnancy was either officially or unofficially part of that trial separation.

We also know that during this trip, Shan’ann’s mother told her work colleagues at Hair Jazz in Aberdeen [which is a few miles West of Spring Lake] that her daughter and son in law were having difficulties with their marriage and “definitely” intended separating.

But separating because of what? The trigger isn’t the separation, it’s the thing causing the separation. Was it the affair or affairs Watts was “actively” engaged in? Once again, that’s not a trigger. Being in an affair isn’t what triggers an affair. The trigger may have something to do with Watts’ sexuality, or the constant bummer of the MLM debt spiral Shan’ann was locking them into, or the pregnancy, or a combination of all these factors.

If Chris Watts intended to separate from Shan’ann before April, then the “surprise” pregnancy wasn’t a surprise at all, it was a strategic manoeuvre to lock her man into the marriage. Maybe he went along with it, like the Watts parent went along with the plea deal, then changed their minds after. Maybe Shan’ann agreed to quit the MLM, if he stayed in the marriage, she’d quit with the MLM. But maybe she reneged on that promise, and that was what the trip to Phoenix was all about.

RONNIE: He just wasn’t in love with her any more, he said.

CINDY: If this actually happened like the- like they’re saying…that it did…that he killed them, then what was the trigger? 

RONNIE: If he didn’t kill the children, I want him to face that and let them prove it.There’s a whole lot of unanswered questions about the case. Everything happened too quick there, from a case status thing to a plea. 

CINDY: It did.

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The Denver7 reporter asks Watts’ folks if they think their son was coerced into making the deal.

CINDY: I have no idea. 

RONNIE: The only reason I can think of, he’s tryna…for our family and for her family…for our family and his family not to go through a trial. Long drawn out trial.

CINDY:  It has been so overwhelming. And I feel like I have to do something to-to help my son to…to… I-I just need to do something. If he’s not going to fight, I want to fight for him.

Off camera Denver7 quotes Cindy adding that what his lawyers did wasn’t enough.

“To me, all they wanted to do was save his life, just save his life. Save his life and life in prison to me there’s no difference. He’s going to die in prison. I just want him to fight. I don’t want him to take this plea deal. I want him to plea[d] not guilty to the children.”

Watch the original interview on Denver7 at this link.

This is where Chris Watts’ father Ronnie works

62-year-old Ronnie Watts is mentioned twice in the arrest affidavit. Chris Watts’ father was close enough to his son to be there for him [having flown in at short notice from Spring Lake, North Carolina] and to be his confidant at a critical time: immediately before his son confessed to the cops.

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We don’t know much about Chris Watts’ father besides that they both share the middle name “Lee” [and Niko was supposed to inherit that middle name too], that they still live in a modest cottage on Vass Road outside Spring Lake, that Watts senior is a mechanic, that they seem to have the same shoulder tattoos and that his son following in his father’s footsteps means something.

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We also see that Watts junior’s appearance is similar to his father’s – short head hair, neat goatee.

Ronnie’s current place of work in Fayetteville also bears a striking similarity to Chris Watts’ former workplace at large Ford dealership in Longmont.

The Watts family, as group, seems to have strong family values. Since Chris Watts’ social media is unavailable, there are precious few artifacts to go on. But the few that exist speak of closeness between father and son, and between the Watts-in-laws and the their son’s growing family. They even spent two weeks in the Watts home babysitting while the young couple holidayed in Punto Cana in the Dominican Republic.

However we may feel about Chris Watts and his crimes, he’s still someone’s son, he still has a mother, he even has a sibling we know virtually nothing about. We may not know or care about these dynamics, but in terms of trial optics and public feeling towards the defendant, they’re likely to be important. Will his family continue to support him no matter what? Scott Peterson’s family did. Casey Anthony’s family did [at least during trial]. James Holmes folks stood by him. Jodi Arias’ family…sort of…did.


When family support is unequivocal for an accused, it creates a weird dual universe. The whole Steven Avery spiel is a classic example of two separate contradictory realities playing out in the media and in court. There’s the reality of the trial, and there’s often a competing no-one-understands [fill-in-the-defendant’s-name] like we do reality, and never the twain shall meet.

If the above images are anything to go on, Ronnie is a devoted dad and will dutifully stand by his son in some capacity. Was he in court during the arraignment though? Shan’ann’s father and brother were conspicuously present in the front row. If Ronnie was in the house, no one saw him.

Cross Creek Subaru, Ronnie Watts’ workplace, is a short 13.5 mile drive from their home on Vass Road.

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Chris Watts’ parents and Sha’nann’s parents live and work fairly close to one another in North Carolina. Don’t be too quick to judge the parents of a defendant. If you were in their shoes would you support your own flesh and blood, or write them off, or support them surreptitiously and privately? Pray you never find yourself in their position where you’re called on to make that choice.

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