Colorado man gets life for murders of pregnant wife, children

Chris Watts to be sentenced for killing pregnant wife, young daughters

A Colorado man, Chris Watts, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his pregnant wife and their two daughters.

Christopher Watts, who pleaded guilty two weeks ago, did not speak during the hearing.

"This is a heartless monster", said Frank Rzucek, Shanann's father, sobbing as he stood at a podium just feet away from a seated Watts, who wore an orange prison uniform, his hands cuffed in front of him.

A bruise in the shape of a finger mark on her neck told investigators that Watts had strangled her slowly and without resistance, Rourke told the court: "The horror she felt as the man she loved wrapped his hands around her throat and choked the life out of her must have been unimaginable".

Police have said Watts killed his wife and daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, inside their suburban Denver home. The bodies of Bella and Celeste were found in commercial oil tanks at a company where Watts had worked. Watts was buried nearby.

Shanann was reported missing August 13 after she missed a doctor's appointment.

Shan'ann's brother and mother also spoke at the hearing, sharing that they begged the district attorney not to give Chris Watts the death penalty.

Watts, 33, was formally sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the murders.

He also pleaded guilty to unlawful termination of a pregnancy and tampering with a deceased human body.

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Cynthia and Ronnie Watts openly doubted that their son had really done all these things - even after he pleaded guilty to it all on November 6 in a plea deal that spared him the death penalty.

Police say Watts killed his wife and their daughters, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste, inside their suburban Denver home.

Despite his admissions, the killer's parents urged him not to strike a pea deal, with his mom Cindy voicing her support at Monday's hearing. Officers initially handled the search and soon sought support from Colorado investigators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A memorial outside the home of Shanann Watts in Colorado. "I hate what has happened", Cindy Watts said, in tears.

Watts with wife Shannen and their daughters Bella and Celete.

Shanann Watts was strangled, and his two toddler daughters were smothered to death, Rourke said, citing disturbing details from the medical examiner's report.

Within days, the 33-year-old was arrested and charged with killing his family.

Friends of Shanann Watts and neighbors in the subdivision where the family lived lined up inside the courthouse Monday morning.

Police learned that Christopher Watts was having an affair with a co-worker. They filed for bankruptcy in June 2015, six months after Christopher Watts was hired as an operator for the large oil and gas driller Anadarko Petroleum at an annual salary of about $61,500.