FREDERICK, Colo. (CBS4) – One year after the murders of Shanann Watts, her two young daughters and her unborn, the Lifetime channel is making about Chris Watts, A+E Networks announced this week.
“Lifetime has greenlit the new movie, The Chris Watts Story [working title], revealing the months that led up to the horrific crime and piecing together the mysterious motives that made this doting father turn into a cold-blooded killer,” the network website states.
Shanann’s husband, Chris Watts, initially denied involvement in the disappearance of his wife and children, and expressed concern about their well-being to a local news station.
“When Chris Watts tearfully pleaded to television cameras for the safe return of his missing pregnant wife Shanann and their two young daughters, dark secrets loomed just beneath the surface,” network officials stated in a press release about the upcoming movie.
Chris Watts later confessed to murdering his wife at their home in Frederick, and smothering their children on the property of an oil and gas company he worked for. He also confessed to having an affair with a co-worker, Nichol Kessinger.
Investigators found Shanann’s body in a shallow grave on the oil and gas company’s property. The bodies of Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, were found in oil tanks on the same property in Weld County.
Judge Marcelo Kopcow said the most despicable act was the way the bodies were disposed of in this case.
“This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases I have seen,” Judge Kopcow told the court.
In November 2018, a judge sentenced Watts to three consecutive life sentences, along with two other life sentences to be carried out concurrently, in addition to 48 years for unlawful termination of pregnancy for the death of the unborn child, and 12 years each for three counts of tampering with a deceased body. Shanann’s family did not want prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
The movie is expected to premiere in 2020.
According to A+E, the movie stars Sean Kleier (Odd Mom Out) as Chris, Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother), as Shanann and Brooke Smith (Bates Motel, Ray Donovan) as FBI agent Tammy Lee.
“As part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, a PSA will run following the movie’s debut, driving viewers to resources on domestic abuse, crisis help lines and other valuable information,” the network website states.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)