After confessing to the murder of his wife, Shannan Watts, her unborn child, and his two young daughters, Chris Watts was sentenced to life in prison.
He is coming under the spotlight again with Lifetime’s new movie Chris Watts: Confession of a Killer, airing on January 25, 2020 at 8 p.m. Eastern. Here are more details about his sentence and where he is now.
He Pleaded Guilty to Avoid a Death Penalty
Chris Watts pleaded guilty to nine counts, including killing his wife Shannan Watts and his two children, Denver 7 reported. This plea deal was made to avoid the death penalty. His sentencing was in November 2018.
Cindy told Denver 7: “He’s going to die in prison. I just want him to fight. I don’t want him to take this plea deal. I want him to plead not guilty to the children.” She had told Chris Watts that she didn’t want him to confess if he didn’t do the crime. But later, she came to accept he had done the crime, but still couldn’t comprehend why.
In July 2019, Chris wrote a letter to his mother from prison, asking her to ignore what people were saying, Oxygen reported. The letter was for her 64th birthday. He added: “I’m still a Dad! I’m still a son! No matter what. Now, I can add servant of God to that mix! He has shown me peace, peace, love and forgiveness.”
He Was Sentenced to Five Life Terms Plus 85 Years
Watts was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, People reported. He is technically sentenced to five life terms, with three served consecutively, with an additional 85 years for murders and a coverup, Dayton Daily News reported.
Chris Watts had claimed early on that he killed Shannan after seeing her strangle the children. But he later pleaded guilty to killing Shannan and his children. He described how he killed his daughters, saying that one begged for her life, Dayton Daily News reported.
He Was in a Prison in Colorado Where He Said He Was Frequently Threatened
He was originally imprisoned in Weld County Jail in Colorado and then transferred, Dayton Daily News reported. Watts said he liked the new prison better because inmates in Colorado would yell at him and tell him to kill himself. Reports indicated inmates also threatened him. The DOC confirmed that Watts was transferred for safety reasons, KKTV reported. He was transferred in December 2018.
Today He Is in a Prison in Wisconsin Where He Keeps His Daughters’ Photos
Several people are known to regularly visit Chris Watts in prison, including a woman who only goes by Kate, Oxygen reported. Watts said in an interview that he keeps photos of Shannan and children in his cell, Boston 25 reported. He said he reads one of his daughter’s books to the photos at night. Prison officials have said the photos don’t violate any policy, after a Change.org petition with more than 18,000 signatures requested the photos be removed.
The petition reads: “As taxpayers and members of the public, we are outraged that Chris Watts was allowed to have a photograph of the victims he was convicted of murdering, including his two minor children. Allowing a murderer to keep a trophy of his victims goes against the purpose and mission statement of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, which emphasizes public safety and victim advocacy.”