Chris Watts, Man Who Murdered Pregnant Wife and Daughters, Sentenced to Life in Prison


A judge in Greeley, Colorado, on Monday sentenced a man convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters to three terms of life in prison without possibility of parole.

KMGH-TV in Denver reported that Chris Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the death of his wife, Shanann, 34, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

In addition to the life sentences for the murders themselves, Judge Marcelo Kopcow handed out two more life sentences for charges of “first degree murder by a person in a position of trust,” according to KMGH, for the deaths of Watts’ daughters.

The judge also added a 48-year prison term to Watts for the death of the couple’s unborn child, referred to by family members as Nico Lee, the station reported.

The judge called it perhaps “the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen.”

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Before Watts was sentenced, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke revealed details of how Watts strangled his wife and smothered his daughters in mid-August, and then disposed of their bodies at an oil and gas site where he works.

Watts buried his wife — 15 weeks pregnant at the time — in a shallow grave and shoved his daughters in oil tanks.

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Shanann’s family asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty in the case.

The deceased’s mother, Sandra Rzucek, explained at the sentencing hearing, “I didn’t want death for you. Your life is between you and God now, and I pray that He has mercy on you.”

Shanann’s father, Frank Rzucek Sr., had harsher words for his son-in-law, describing Watts as a “heartless monster” for murdering his family.

“I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them,” he said. “You have to live with this vision every day of your life, and I hope you see that every day of your life.”

Rzucek ended: “This is hard to say, but may God have mercy on your soul.”

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Shanann’s brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., had Rourke read his statement, relating that he is in anguish and struggles to sleep at night.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t cry for my family,” Rourke said, reading Frank Jr.’s statement. “You don’t deserve to be called a man. What kind of person slaughters the people they love the most?”

An attorney for Watts told Kopcow her client is “devastated,” and though Watts realizes his words are hollow, he is “sincerely sorry for all of this,” CNN reported.

Watts was having an affair at the time he murdered his wife and daughters. He told law enforcement that on the morning of Aug. 13, before he left for work, he had informed Shanann that he wanted a separation.

When his family was first reported missing, Watts went on national television saying he hoped they would be found soon.

“My kids are my life,” he said, from the front porch of their home in Frederick, Colorado, about 30 miles north of Denver. “Those smiles light up my life.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith