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07 November 2018, 08:35 | Devin Moran
Chris Watts appearing in court this summer. Getty
Colorado father Christopher Watts pleaded guilty to murdering his pregnant wife and their two children on Tuesday after striking a deal with prosecutors which means he will not face the death penalty.
In the high-profile case, Christopher Watts entered the plea in Weld County District Court on Tuesday, his voice shaking as he spoke the words "guilty" nine times in response to the various counts.
Chris Watts pleaded guilty Tuesday to all nine counts he faced.
Shanann Watts' parents, Sandra and Frank Rzucek, as well as her brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., also attended the hearing and subsequent press conference.
The plea deal was approved by Shanann's family who told the district attorney they did not want to end his life as he did their daughter's and grandchildren's.
Watts reported his wife and their girls, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, missing August 13 from their home in Frederick, a town about 30 miles north of Denver. Watts was arrested in August after killing his family and dumping their bodies on land belonging to an oil company where he formerly worked.
It's alleged he drove their bodies to an oil site, and police said the girls' bodies were found in an oil tank while his wife's body was found in a shallow grave.
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.
The Rzuceks, Shanann's family, agreed not to pursue the death penalty partly because of the "extraordinary delays" involved, Rourke said.
"I was not willing to entertain any further concessions above and beyond removing the death penalty", he said. He gave no details about that talk, only saying, "I just want them back". "And so that's about as firmly as she could have said it to me, and that was very compelling to all of us as we were talking about how to proceed on this case".
"I can only say that I hope there is a sense of closure (for family members of the deceased)", Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said.
"I don't know how I could have sat in Sandy (Rzucek)'s kitchen and asked her to commit the next 25 years of her life of the criminal justice system", Rourke said.
When asked how he feels, Rourke said "sick" and "saddened". If it goes as planned, Rourke said he will not fight the release of the autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her daughters.
"No one wins today", he said.
"The spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, incorrectly.is now shined correctly on him", Rourke said.
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