On Wednesday, August 15, Chris Watts was arrested for the killing of his wife, Shanann Watts, and their daughters: Bella, age 4, and Celeste, age 3.
He has now been formally charged — with nine felonies.
Watts is reportedly trying to defend himself with an outlandish claim to police — that he only murdered his wife because she had killed their daughters.
On Monday, August 20, Chris Watts was formally charged.
He is facing five counts of murder in the first degree.
(Because two of his victims were children under the age of twelve, he is facing two charges each for Bella and Celeste)
He is facing one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first degree — because his wife was pregnant.
Watts is also facing three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
The remains of Shanann, Bella, and Celeste were found last week at an oil field where Chris Watts had once been employed.
Shanann was found in a shallow grave.
The small bodies of Bella and Celeste were found nearby.
They had been submerged in crude oil within an oil barrel.
These gruesome details are unpleasant, but they may be important to consider when you hear Chris Watts present his version of events.
At first, Chris claimed that his wife and daughters were missing. He even went to the media and claimed to need help finding them.
According to an affidavit released on Monday, August 20, Chris admitted to murdering his wife — but claimed that it was a response to her murdering his daughters.
First, Chris admitted to having had an affair, which he had previously denied when speaking to investigators.
“Chris stated after he told Shanann he wanted a separation he walked downstairs for a moment and then returned to his bedroom to speak with Shanann again,” the affidavit reads.
“While in the bedroom,” the affidavit continues. “Via baby monitor located on Shanann’s night stand, he observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste.”
On top of claiming that his wife strangled their children, he claims that this drove him to kill her — incidentally, in the same manner in which he claims that she killed their girls.
“Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death,” the affidavit reads. “Chris said he loaded all three bodies into the back seat of his work truck and took them to an oil work site.”
We already told you the state in which police found the bodies.
It would be interesting to see Watts and his attorney try to convince a jury that Watts first avenged his dead daughters and then, instead of contacting emergency services to try to save his girls, very lovingly dumped them in an oil barrel.
The affidavit is also where it is revealed that Watts admitted to being “actively involved in an affair with a co-worker, which he denied in previous interviews.”
Family Annihilators — that is, men who very suddenly wipe out their families — are a familiar enough phenomenon to have their own name and profile, but very upsetting.
In general, these men are parts of families with financial struggles who for whatever reason don’t consider a divorce a viable option and have a desire to restart their lives with a clean slate.
Then some minor stressor or incident, from a small child wetting the bed to a new financial setback, sets off the father on a spree killing of his entire household. That is, in general, the pattern.
We can know that intellectually and still be baffled, wondering what sort of person could bring themselves to murder their little children and then stuff them into an oil drum.
If Watts goes to trial, his attorney may make an argument that counts upon there being parents on the jury who cannot imagine killing their children and will refuse to believe that any man could.
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