GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – Chris Watts and his attorneys have reached a plea deal in the highly-watched murder case out of Frederick. Watts is accused of killing his wife, Shanann, and his two young daughters, Bella and Celeste.
Shanann was pregnant with their third child, a boy.
Watts reached a plea deal Tuesday afternoon to avoid the death penalty. He pleaded guilty to all nine charges against him.
On Aug. 20, he was formally charged with five counts of murder in the first degree, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
The district attorney eliminated the death penalty from consideration in exchange for pleading guilty to all nine counts.
Watts could face three consecutive life sentences.
The request to not seek the death penalty came from Shanann Watts’ family.
Watts has since been in custody in the Weld County jail since the murders in August.
Investigators say Watts killed his family and then dumped their bodies on the property belonging to an oil company. Watts had worked for that company until the allegations arose.
The girls’ bodies were found in oil barrels and Shanann’s body was found in a shallow grave nearby.
Watts claimed Shanann had killed one daughter and was actively trying to kill the other when he attacked her in an act of passion.
“We talked a lot about whether we would require him to come forward and give us what we believe to be a complete, accurate and truthful statement. I think all of those who were involved would never truly believe that he would give us an accurate statement. What I can tell you most affirmatively today by what happened in the courtroom, is the spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly and frankly a flat-out lie, has been corrected,” said Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke. “The spotlight shines directly where it belongs, on him.”
The family’s autopsy reports were never released, but a judge did deny a request to seal them.
Watts is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19.