Lawyers: Watts Killed Wife Over Threat to Keep Him From Kids

March 7, 2019 Updated: March 7, 2019

DENVER—Lawyers for the parents of a Colorado woman killed by her husband say he did so after she threatened to keep him from seeing their children because he wanted a divorce.

Lawyer Thomas Grant, who represents Shannan Watts’ parents, Frank, and Sandy Rzucek, said on the “Dr. Phil” show Tuesday that Chris Watts spoke to investigators about why he killed his wife and two daughters after finding God.

ChristoThis photo combo of images provided by The Colorado Bureau of Investigation shows, from left, Bella Watts, Celeste Watts and Shanann Watts. (The Colorado Bureau of Investigation via AP)pher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing
Christopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colo., on Aug. 21, 2018. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP)

Attorney Steven Lambert said Watts’ 4-year-old daughter walked in as Watts was wrapping up his wife’s body in a blanket.

Lambert told Dr. Phil in an interview that aired on March 5 and is embedded above that prior to the killings, Chris and Shanann Watts got into a fight over his affair. After he told her he wanted a divorce, she told him, “You’re not going to see the kids again.”

Watts grew upset and strangled his wife to death. While doing so, Bella walked into the room and asked, “What are you doing with mommy?”

Watts responded, “Mommy is sick and we need to take her to the hospital to make her better.”

He then drove his family to the oil field and killed his daughters before stashing their bodies in an oil tank where officials later found them submerged. His wife was buried nearby.

Shanann Watts and her two daughters in an undated file photo.
Shanann Watts and her two daughters in an undated file photo. (Shanann Watts/Facebook)

Lawyers for the parents of a Colorado woman killed by her husband say he did so after she threatened to keep him from seeing their children because he wanted a divorce. https://t.co/JjMAwPJOua

— WDTN (@WDTN) March 7, 2019

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced last week that investigators had interviewed Watts and would release a recording Thursday.

Choked Daughter

Prosecutors previously said that Bella fought for her life as Chris Watts strangled her to death.

Weld County Prosecutor Michael Rourke told the court prior to Watts being sentenced that Bella “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 added.

The county coroner found blunt force trauma on the girl’s jaw, and lacerations, and contusions in her mouth. The autopsy also found teeth impressions and superficial bite marks on the surface of her tongue.

Chris Watts and his mistress Nichol Kessinger on a trip
Chris Watts and his mistress Nichol Kessinger on a trip in an undated photo. (Weld County District Attorney’s Office)

Prosecutions believed that Watts’s motive was a desire to start a new life with a woman he met at work and with whom he was having an affair.

“He had a desire for a fresh start, to begin a new relationship with a new love,” Rourke said.

Grant said Sandy Rzucek was briefed on the interview but hasn’t heard the recording.

The lawyers declined to comment to The Associated Press.

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