GREELEY, Colo. — UPDATE 12:49 p.m. ET: Chris Watts, the Colorado man who pleaded guilty to killing pregnant wife and their two young daughters, was sentenced to life in prison.
Watts was sentenced Monday, nearly two weeks after pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors have said Shanann Watts' family consented to the plea deal.
He also pleaded guilty to unlawful termination of a pregnancy and tampering with a deceased human body. The 33-year-old is not eligible for parole.
Police have said Watts killed his wife and daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, inside their suburban Denver home. The children were found inside an oil tank. Watts was buried nearby.
A friend reported them missing in mid-August. In local news interviews before his arrest, Watts pleaded for his family's safe return
The Colorado man who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges in the August slayings of his pregnant wife and two young daughters is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.
According to KMGH, Chris Watts, 33, of Frederick, is slated to appear in Weld County District Court at 10 a.m. MST (noon EST) Monday. Watts, who pleaded guilty Nov. 6 to nine felony charges, including three counts of first-degree murder with deliberation, likely will be sentenced to life in prison without parole, the station reported. Under Watts' plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty.
Watts' parents, who recently told KMGH that their son is not a "monster," could speak at the hearing, the station reported. The parents of his wife, Shanann Watts, also could speak, according to KMGH.
Watts is accused of killing his daughters – Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3 – Aug. 12 or 13 in the family’s home. Prosecutors also said Watts killed Shanann Watts, 34, after she returned home from a business trip about 2 a.m. Aug. 13. She was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, whom she planned to name Nico.
A friend reported Shanann Watts missing the afternoon of Aug. 13. Watts was arrested two days later.
According to an arrest affidavit dated Aug. 16, Watts told investigators that Shanann Watts strangled the girls after he asked for a separation around 4 a.m. Aug. 13. He claimed he then strangled her in a fit of rage, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said Watts admitted to burying his wife's body in a shallow grave at a job site belonging to his employer, Andarko Petroleum, about 60 miles from the family's home. The bodies of Bella and Celeste were found in two nearby oil tanks, submerged in crude oil.
At the time of the deaths, Watts had been "actively involved in an affair with a co-worker," the affidavit said.
In an interview with the Denver Post last week, Nichol Kessinger, 30, said she began dating Watts less than two months before the killings. Kessinger said Watts told her he was at the end of the divorce process, but when his family disappeared, she quickly realized that he had been lying.
"When I read the news, I found out he was still married and his wife was 15 weeks pregnant," she told the Denver Post. "I thought, 'If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?'"
She said she called the sheriff Aug. 15 and met with FBI investigators about her concerns. Watts was arrested later that night.
"I don't think there is a logical explanation for what he did," Kessinger told the Post. "It's a senseless act, and it's horrific."
– WSOC-TV contributed to this report.
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