A Colorado father has pleaded guilty to killing his two young daughters and his pregnant wife in a deal that removes the death penalty as a possible sentence, according to the Weld County District Attorney's Office.
Christopher Watts entered his plea Tuesday during a court hearing in Greeley, replying "guilty" nine times in response to Judge Marcelo Kopcow's reading of each charge against him in the deaths of Shanann Watts, 34, and their children, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. But he told police that he strangled her in "a rage" when he discovered she had strangled their two daughters after he sought a separation.
He arrived the court wearing a bullet proof vest and sobbed each time he pleaded guilty to each of the nine charges.
"I was not willing to entertain any further concessions above and beyond removing the death penalty", he said.
Watts told detectives he was having an affair, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, and that he had loaded the bodies of his wife and daughters into his work truck and taken them to an oil field. Police have said Watts drove their bodies to an oil site owned by his former employer.
'That to me was the most important consideration in deciding how to proceed in this a case. The three bodies were found on property near Roggen owned by Anadarko Petroleum Co., where Watts worked as an operator until August 15. She was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy who she planned to name Nico.
'I do not want to be in the position of choosing to take his'. "I know that that will never be fully realized because, obviously, the tragedy that sits before us today is the loss of four attractive lives (including Shanann's unborn baby)".
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Treu appeared via video in court Tuesday afternoon for an initial appearances on 11 counts, including four counts of homicide. Treu and the passenger told police they had been "huffing," or intentionally inhaling chemical fumes, police have said.
During the plea hearing on Tuesday, he said the falsehood that Shannan killed the children was corrected.
Watts is scheduled to be sentenced November 19.
"I can only say that I hope there is a sense of closure", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said following the hearing.
Investigators never believed his story, Mr Rourke said.
Watts' family had all flown out to Colorado in order to be in court today to support him.
'The spotlight that he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely and incorrectly - a flat out lie - has been corrected.
But in his guilty plea, Watts made it clear that he, and not his wife, had killed the girls.
Rourke said investigators believe they have a partial motive for the slayings, but said he wouldn't give details until after Watts is sentenced.