In August 2018 Chris Watts murdered his entire family in their Frederick, Colorado home.
He strangled his wife, Shan’ann Cathryn Watts, killing her and their unborn son, Niko. He smothered his daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, with pillows from their own beds. He then ‘buried’ his daughters in oil drums and his wife and unborn son in a shallow grave on some property where he worked in the oil field.
Chris Watts accepted a plea deal in November 2018 and was sentenced to prison for five consecutive life sentences.
Now a woman who struck up correspondence with him in prison, Cheryln Cadle, as released a letter in which he explained exactly how he murdered his family.
August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls’ room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella’s room, then Cece’s room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That’s why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece’s room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued.
After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I’m not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella’s eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries.”
He talks about knowing he was going to commit the murders:
“August 12th when I finished putting the girls to bed, I walked away and said ‘That’s the last time I’m going to be tucking my babies in.’ I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it.”
He talks flippantly about murdering his wife:
“Isn’t it weird how I look back and what I remember so much is her face getting all black with streaks of mascara?”
“All the weeks of me thinking about killing her, and now I was faced with it. When she started to get drowsy, I somehow knew how to squeeze the jugular veins until it cut off the blood flow to her brain, and she passed out…”
He talks about his daughters watching him murder their mother:
“The girls were just kind of running around the house, and watching me with scared looks on their faces. Bella started to cry and when she did Celeste started whimpering. What a nightmare this was.”
In describing how he felt during all of this, he wrote he was “so mad they were still alive.”
Later on, he described how he disposed of his wife and kid’s bodies:
“I dumped Shanann on the ground, then I walked back to the truck and with the blanket that Celeste was holding, I put it over her head and smothered her.”
“I couldn’t believe how easily it was to just let her drop through the hole and let her go. I heard the splash as she hit the oil.”
“Out of all three, Bella is the only one that put up a fight. I will hear her soft little voice for the rest of my life, saying, ‘Daddy, NO’. She knew what I was doing to her. She may not have understood death, but she knew I was killing her.”
He also admits that while he initially was adamant he had a “rage blackout”, the murders were in fact planned so that he would be free to be with his mistress, Nichol Kessinger, who is now in witness protection.
Here is the letter in full
Hello again! I hope you are doing well! It has been awesome talking with you on the phone, but I know the 15-minute timeframe is a pain. Sometimes I can get right back on the phone but right now there are other inmates that like to be on the phone as much as I do, so I respect their time as well. How’s your dad doing, I’ve been praying on that every day.
Yes, that petition really blew my mind that people really want to make me suffer like that. Even if they did ever take my pictures, they can’t take my memories. An inmate from another institution wrote me about that subject and said, “If they take your pictures, they would need to take the pictures from the other 500-600 people that have their family pictures up on their cell convicted of the same act.”
Do I feel like I should be incarcerated? For the act I committed, I most definitely think so. Do I imagine myself ever doing anything like this or be a danger to society? I most definitely think NOT! If I were to ever be released, I know I would go straight to a ministry and start going to jails/prisons and help inmates.
If God led me to be ordained, I would go that route as well; possibly even be a chaplain. Maybe the laws will change one day. My attorney team could see I was different and knew that this was a one-time occurrence for me. They told me that in Europe, the law is I would serve 20 years or so for homicide, and in California, after 25 years of imprisonment, on a life sentence you can be released if you’ve had good behaviour. So, there’s hope for everyone to live outside prison walls. I know physically I’m behind these walls, but my spirit is FREE with Christ!
If God keeps putting it on your heart that there is more to the story than what I told the FBI has, you’re correct. I don’t like saying stuff like that over the phone because I’m never certain when they screen my calls. I know I already told you the vision I had before August 13th, when I was lying in bed and all the lights were on in the loft and downstairs and I felt so alone. That’s exactly what happened April 14th when I was lying in bed.
I don’t know if you want this in the book or if God does but here are the things I left out. 1) August 12th when I finished putting the girls to bed, I walked away and said “That’s the last time I’m going to be tucking my babies in.” I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it! I was numb to the entire world. I had literally taken my kids to a birthday party, played with water balloons, had an amazing time, sang songs all the way home, gave them bath a shower, ate dinner, read bedtime stories and sang bedtime songs, and still nothing registered!!
When Shanann had to be somewhere, I always enjoyed taking the girls places or playing outside because it was our opportunity to bond, and still the night before I couldn’t stop myself from what I knew would occur the next morning.
2) August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls’ room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella’s room, then Cece’s room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That’s why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece’s room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued. After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I’m not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella’s eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries.
3) The reason the medical examiner found oxycodone in Shanann’s system is because I gave it to her. I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn’t pregnant.
I don’t know if this was a spiritual visit, but I had a dream Cece was dancing next to the chair in my cell. When she was dancing, all of my folders on the chair started moving and I thought she was in trouble, so I said watch out, get away, watch out! Then I woke up. I’m hoping she comes back! I hope everyone comes to visit me. I’m trying to see if I can clear my head better before I go to sleep to help.
I like that John 10:10 passage you sent. I wish I could’ve had an open ear to hear the Lord calling me back in June/July/August. If we run after sin, we won’t hear our Shepherd calling us. I couldn’t discern between the good spirits and the evil spirits and that eventually lodged me into a deep pit I couldn’t climb back out of.
Take care and God Bless!