Chris Watts' 4-year-old daughter Bella 'fought back for her life' and 'bit tongue' as dad suffocated her
Speaking to the court at the sentencing hearing for the murders, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said that the murders were violent and were very hard to comprehend
Prosecutors have revealed on November 19 that the murders of pregnant Shanann Watts, 34, and daughters four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste were not in any way quick and they were definitely not painless, according to what was said at the sentencing of triple murderer and patriarch Christ Watts.
Authorities have confirmed the causes of death for all three victims for the first time. Speaking to the court at the sentencing hearing for the murders, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said that the murders were violent and were very hard to comprehend.
He told the judge: "There are no words to adequately describe the unimaginable tragedy that brings us before this court today. I’m not even going to try to express the horror, the pain or the suffering the defendant has caused to these families and to this community and to all who were part of this investigation."
Chris Watts sentencing for murders of wife, daughters https://t.co/4l2zUrj5Tr— 9NEWS Denver (@9NEWS) November 19, 2018
Since the pregnant mother and her two daughters were first reported as missing in August, Rourke said: "The questions that have screamed out to anyone who will listen since Aug. 13 of 2018 are: Why and how?" The prosecutors confirmed for the first time to the public, after keeping the details a secret for months, their basic knowledge of Chris' motive for the murder. They also spoke about how indescribably intimate the method he used for the murders was.
Rourke told the court that Shanann was strangled to death by Chris' bare hands as "he slowly took her life". It wasn't in a rage after watching her trying to strangle Celeste, as Chris has initially told authorities. The DA told the court that Shanann's body did not have any signs of a violent struggle. Her neck only had the marks left behind by Chris' fingers.
He said: "We know that our experts tell us that it takes two to four minutes to strangle someone to death manually with their own hands. The horror that she felt as the man that she loved wrapped his hands around her throat and choked the life out of her must have been unimaginable."
The DA then continued by saying Bella and Celeste were smothered. Just like her mother, three-year-old Celeste did not show any signs of external injuries but Bella, it was revealed, fought back for her life. Rourke said that the body of the eldest Watts child showed that she bit her tongue as she was being smothered. He told the judge: "She fought back for her life as her father smothered her. Imagine the horror in Bella’s mind as her father took her last breaths away."
Rourke also said that the murders were committed on August 13, which was not long after Shanann went back home after a weekend work trip to Arizona. He said that Chris had said the couple had an "emotional conversation" about the state their marriage was in before the murders took place. He did not go into details about where in the home the murders took place other than saying Shanann has been asleep or unconscious when she was strangled to death.
Chris put the bodies of his pregnant wife and children into his truck and hid them on a remote oil work site where the bodies were found days later. Rourke said that Chris' motive was simple. He said: "He had a desire for a fresh start, to begin a new relationship with a new love." The man was said to be in an affair with a co-worker at the time of the murders.
Rourke said, however, that even with all this knowledge, it was still very hard to process for many who were at the triple murderer's sentencing on November 19.
He said: "Why did this have to happen? How could a seemingly normal husband and father annihilate his entire family — for what? These are the questions that only one individual in this courtroom or on this planet knows the answers to. I fully expect we will not receive the answers to these questions today nor will we at any point in the future."
Rourke continued: "I don’t expect that he [Chris] will ever tell the truth about what truly happened or why. Even if he did, there’s no rational way that any human being could find those answers except those responsible to such horrific questions. The best we can do is piece together some kind of understanding from the evidence that is available to us."
"The evidence tells us this: The defendant coldly and deliberately ended four lives, not in a fit of rage, not by way of accident, but in a calculated and sickening manner." After the DA's statements and those from both Shanann's parents as well as Chris' parents, the judge sentenced the man to life behind bars without the possibility of parole. Chris made the surprise announcement at the charging hearing by pleading guilty after he took a plea deal in order to avoid capital punishment.
Through his attorney at the sentencing hearing, Chris said that he was "sincerely sorry" but did not speak himself. Shanann's family had a lot to say about him, however. Frankie Rzucek, Shanann's brother, said: "What kind of person slaughters the people they love the most?"