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Judge won’t stop release of autopsy files in family killings

October 12, 2018

DENVER (AP) — A judge has denied prosecutors’ request to block release of the autopsy reports of a Colorado woman and her two young daughters who were found dead at an oil work site, temporarily siding with media organizations.

Prosecutors have charged 33-year-old Christopher Watts with killing his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their children, Bella and Celeste.

The Weld County district attorney’s office argued that the cause of their deaths will be critical evidence during Watts’ trial.

But Judge Marcelo Kopcow ruled Friday that only the county coroner can ask to seal autopsy reports.

The Longmont Times-Call reports that Judge Marcelo Kopcow’s ruling mirrored arguments submitted by media organizations opposing prosecutors’ request to close the records.

Autopsy reports are presumed public in Colorado. Judges can decide to seal them under certain conditions.

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