Chris Watts entered a Colorado court on Monday to receive his sentencing, two weeks after pleading guilty to murdering his pregnant wife — Shan’ann Watts — and their daughters, Bella and Celeste, according to a report by People.
Watts received five life sentences without the possibility of parole, according to reports by Denver 7 News.
By making the guilty plea on November 6 to three counts of first-degree murder, the 33-year-old Watts was able to avoid the death penalty. Watts admitted guilt in the deaths of the 34-year-old Shan’ann, 4-year-old Bella, and 3-year-old Celeste. Shan’ann was 15 weeks pregnant with a boy, to be named Nico, when she was killed.
Along with the charges of first-degree murder, Watts also pleaded guilty to two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body, according to the report by People.
While Watts has managed to avoid a death sentence with his guilty plea, as part of the deal with Colorado prosecutors he will still face a likelihood of life in prison — without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors have also announced that they will be releasing more information about the case following the sentencing.
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke spoke about the case during a November 6 news conference, saying, “We believe that we have a partial motive.”
Chris Watts was officially sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing his pregnant wife Shanann and their two young daughters.— NBC Charlotte (@wcnc) November 19, 2018
Today, we remember Shanann, Bella and Celeste as well as the family, friends who have been impacted by their deaths. pic.twitter.com/tPlt1IqU9U
Prosecutors have also said that the autopsy of the victims will be made public following the sentencing.
The result of the autopsies are likely to confirm the cause of death for Watts’ wife and children, likely providing more details regarding the condition that Shan’ann and her children’s bodies were found in — and what wounds they suffered during their deaths.
When they originally went missing back in August, Watts gave several television interviews as he pleaded for the return of his family.
However, days after they were first announced missing, Shan’ann was found on an oil work site. The site was the property of the company that Watts had previously worked for. The two children’s bodies were found in nearby oil tanks.
In Watts’ arrest affidavit, he claimed that he had strangled Shan’ann in their home — after he had watched her strangle their daughter Celeste. This came after he had told his pregnant wife that he wanted a separation. Prior court filings had suggested that both of the daughters were strangled.
Watts’ parents, Ronnie and Cindy, spoke out last week in defense of their son, telling a local television station that Watts was”normal” before his “abusive” marriage to Shan’ann, per People.