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DA: Christopher Watts Owes at Least $40K in Restitution for Murders of Wife, Children

November 22, 2018

Christopher Watts, seen at his Monday sentencing hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, has been ordered to pay at least $40,000 in restitution to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund. Watts pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, Shanann Watts, and two daughters, Bella and Celeste.

Christopher Watts, the Frederick man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and young daughters, has been ordered to pay more than $40,000 in restitution.

Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke and his office have ordered Watts,33, to pay $41,807.98 to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund. The fund is used to help victims with crime-related personal and financial hardships, including medical expenses, wage losses and funeral costs.

Some claims are ongoing, and future restitution will likely be submitted, according to an order filed Tuesday. The restitution is subject to eight percent interest per annum.

Watts on Monday was sentenced to multiple life sentences in prison without parole, bringing to a close a high-profile case that garnered international media attention and merited investigation by local, state and national agencies.

Watts pleaded guilty Nov. 6 to five counts of first-degree murder, three counts of tampering with a deceased human body and unlawful termination of a pregnancy in connection with the deaths of Shanann Watts, 34, and their daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, in August. His plea came as part of a deal in which prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table.

The Weld County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday released nearly 2,000 pages of records from the case, which showed that Shanann Watts’ mother, Sandra Rzucek, contacted investigators shortly after her daughter and granddaughters were reported missing and said she suspected Christopher Watts was responsible for their disappearance and that he would pour oil on their bodies to hide the crime.

Shanann Watts’ body was found buried in a shallow grave inside an Anadarko Petroleum Co.-owned oil field in rural Weld County. Celeste and Bella Watts’ bodies were found inside nearby oil tanks on the same property. Christopher Watts worked for the company until Aug. 15, the day he was arrested.

Evidence indicated he strangled his wife with his hands and smothered their two daughters before hiding their bodies on the remote site.

He’ll serve three consecutive life sentences for the three murders, plus 48 years for the unlawful termination of a pregnancy charge and 36 more for the three tampering charges. He received two concurrent life sentences for the remaining two first-degree murder counts.

Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, cniedringhaus@dailycamera.com

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