Autopsy Reports in Watts Case Not Available, Prosecution Says
The autopsy reports for Shanann Watts and her children are not yet available, which is why the prosecution has not provided them to Christopher Watts’ defense attorneys, according to a motion filed Tuesday by Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke.
Rourke has requested that Weld County District Court allow the autopsy reports to be kept from the public, on the grounds that those reports will be critical pieces of evidence at trial and could taint witnesses or future jurors.
Watts is accused of killing 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, in August and then disposing of the bodies on property owned by the Anadarko Petroleum Co., where he worked as an operator.
He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.
Christopher Watts’ defense attorneys responded by accusing the prosecution of withholding evidence and thus violating due process of law.
Judge Marcelo Kopcow has placed a temporary seal on the autopsy reports and ordered the prosecution to deliver the reports to the defense.
However, the new motion shows that the reports are not yet completed or available. Rourke explains that the coroner’s office has received around 20 requests for the reports, from both media and individuals, and receives phone calls every day.
The prosecution filed the motion to withhold the public documents early “in an abundance of caution,” Rourke said.
The Weld County Coroner’s Office has also confirmed that the reports are not yet available.
Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, email@example.com