A Colorado man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he pleaded guilty to murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters.
Fox 31 Denver reports Christopher Watts, of Frederick, Colorado, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in prison without parole Monday. He did not face charges for killing a fourth victim, their unborn baby.
Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of his pregnant wife, Shanann, 34, and their daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3; three counts of tampering with a deceased human body; and one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy, according to the report.
The closest charge that Watts faced recognizing their unborn baby’s death was unlawful termination of pregnancy, which has to do with performing illegal abortions, not ending an unborn baby’s life. Colorado is one of just a few states that does not recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn baby as homicide in at least some circumstances.
The report indicates Shanann was carrying a son named Nico.
Frank Rzucek, Shanann’s father, called Watts a “heartless monster” in an emotional speech Monday during the hearing, ABC News reports.
“I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them. And they also trusted you,” Rzucek said. “You disgust me.”
Sentencing Judge Marcelo Kopcow said the case was the “most inhumane and vicious crime” that he has ever witnessed as a judge.
Watts allegedly was having an affair when he murdered his wife and children in August, according to the report.
A friend reported Shanann missing on Aug. 13, and police arrested Chris Watts several days later, according to various news reports. Two authorities told ABC 7 that Watts later confessed to killing his wife and young daughters.
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A few days later, authorities found the bodies of Shanann, Bella and Celeste on the property of a petroleum company where Chris worked. The girls’ bodies were found in a tank of oil. According to reports, authorities suspect that Chris had strangled them to death.
However, the autopsies and exact causes of death have not yet been released.
The Epoch Times reports Shanann was 15-weeks pregnant with a son when she was killed.
The horrific story has garnered national attention, and has renewed debates about a Colorado fetal homicide law.
Colorado pro-life leaders have attempted to pass an unborn victims of violence law for many years, but the attempts have failed repeatedly in the state legislature, the most recent being in 2015.
The bill was prompted by a gruesome crime involving Dynel Catrece Lane, who attacked a pregnant woman and cut her 7-month unborn baby from her womb. In this unbelievable act of violence, the baby died but the mother, Michelle Wilkins, survived. In 2016, a judge sentenced Lane to 100 years of prison for assaulting and attempting to murder Wilkins, but Lane was not punished for the viable baby girl’s death.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 38 states recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances.