Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Dad accused of killing wife, kids pleads guilty to gruesome murders

Dad accused of killing wife, kids pleads guilty to gruesome murders

Watts appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to all nine counts against him, including five counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

His sentencing is scheduled for November 19. Her brother looked steadily at Watts throughout the hearing, which lasted about 30 minutes. The District Attorney's Office said the family might make a statement at a later date, but they are asking for privacy at this time.

Watts reached a plea deal Tuesday afternoon to avoid the death penalty.

He arrived the court wearing a bullet proof vest and sobbed each time he pleaded guilty to each of the nine charges.

"We charged him with what we truly believed he had done", Rourke said. He said the family was strongly against pursuing the death penalty, especially after they discussed the extensive delays in the process in Colorado.

The request to not seek the death penalty came from Shanann Watts' family.

"That about as firmly as she could have said it to me", Rourke said. A judge set an execution date for him in 2013, but Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a temporary reprieve to postpone his execution.

He said he went off to work and only knew something was wrong when he was contacted later by her colleagues.

"Sandra said it best when she said: 'He made that choice to take their lives".

"That, to me, was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed with this case", Mr Rourke said.

Mr Rourke said he was not willing to dismiss any charges in exchange for the promise of guilty pleas.

Autopsy results have not been released.

Shanann Watts, 34, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and their daughters, Celeste, three, and Bella, four, were reported missing in August. Watts was arrested shortly before midnight on August 15.

Investigators say Watts killed his family and then dumped their bodies on the property belonging to an oil company.

Police said Watts admitted to murdering his wife but claimed he killed her because she strangled their children.

"The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann - falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie - has been corrected", Rourke said.

When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened".

'No one wins today. "I never wanted to stand up and have a press conference like this".

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