Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Dad accused of killing wife, kids pleads guilty to gruesome murders

Dad accused of killing wife, kids pleads guilty to gruesome murders

And even though he pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder and other charges in their deaths, it's still not known publicly what happened to 34-year-old Shanann Watts and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

Watts pleaded guilty to nine counts in the case, including unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased body, the Weld County district attorney's office said in a statement Tuesday.

He could be heard sniffing and trembled each time he said "guilty" in response to each charge read against him by the judge. Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant with a baby boy they were going to name Nico.

Shanann Watts' parents, Sandra and Frank Rzucek, as well as her brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., also attended the hearing and subsequent press conference.

Mr Rourke said the plea deal asks the judge to make the first-degree murder sentences consecutive.

He told officers he loaded his wife and children's bodies into the back seat of his truck and drove them to an oil and natural gas company he worked for.

Rourke spoke at a news conference following the hearing in Weld County District Court, flanked by law enforcement from the agencies involved in the case, including the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Frederick Police Department.

Police said Watts admitted to murdering his wife but claimed he killed her because she strangled their children.

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.

Watts initially faced the possibility of the death penalty, however with the agreement of the victims' family, the District Attorney "eliminated the death penalty from consideration in exchange for pleading guilty to all nine counts". Rourke said their wishes were the most compelling factor for him in reaching the plea agreement. "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)".

"That about as firmly as she could have said it to me", Rourke said.

"I was not willing to entertain any further concessions above and beyond removing the death penalty", he said.

"The spotlight he tried to shine on Shanann, falsely, now shined correctly on him", Rourke said. Rourke said he was "sick" and "saddened' over the case".

Shanann had returned home from a business trip when she was killed.

"No one wins today", he said.

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