Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Christopher Watts pleads guilty in deaths of wife, young daughters

Christopher Watts pleads guilty in deaths of wife, young daughters

A Colorado man charged with killing his pregnant wife and two daughters has pleaded guilty under a plea deal that will allow him to avoid the death penalty.

In the high-profile case, Christopher Watts entered the plea in Weld County District Court on Tuesday, his voice shaking as he spoke the words "guilty" nine times in response to the various counts.

Initially, Watts told police that he killed his wife in a rage; that she had strangled the daughters after he had acknowledged an affair and his intention to separate.

After his pregnant wife and two daughters disappeared, Watts stood on his porch in Colorado and told reporters how much he missed them.

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The Rzuceks, Shanann's family, agreed not to pursue the death penalty partly because of the "extraordinary delays" involved, Rourke said.

On Tuesday, Watts pleaded guilty to nine counts; four counts of murder (one for each child, his wife and their unborn child), unlawful termination of pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. A judge set an execution date for him in 2013, but Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a temporary reprieve to postpone his execution.

Watts, 33, had been charged with murdering his wife of almost six years, Shanann, 34, and their two girls.

'I don't know how I could have sat in Sandy's kitchen and asked her to commit the next 25 years of her life to the criminal justice system without any assurance that the sentence would ever actually be imposed, ' he said. Her parents, Frank Rzucek and Sandra Onorati Rzucek, and her brother, Frankie Rzucek, watched from a front row of the packed courtroom.

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Because the case is not finished until Watts is sentenced and a judge accepts his guilty plea, Rourke is still not answering questions about the investigation. Rourke said they may decide to testify when Christopher Watts is formally sentenced on November 19.

A memorial outside the home of Shanann Watts in Colorado.

"I do not want to be in the position of making the choice to take his", Mr Rourke said.

"The spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, now shined correctly on him", Rourke said. He will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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Rourke said he hoped the agreement would bring some measure of closure for the family, who were present during the court hearing and the press conference.

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