Father accused of killing family could face death penalty

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FREDERICK, Colo. -- It's only been 24 hours since Christopher Watts allegedly confessed to killing his wife and two young children, but prosecutors are building a case against him.

Many will be closely watching to see if the Weld County district attorney will seek the death penalty.

"It's both a political decision in terms of the ramifications of the voters," criminal defense attorney Chris Decker said. "It's a huge decision financially because it cost an extraordinary amount of money."

Decker said the case for the death penalty is strong. In Colorado, prosecutors must be able to establish at least one of 17 aggravating factors.

This case meets at least three, he said. Watts is accused of killing more than one person. His victims are two young children. And one of the victims was pregnant.

"There may be other mitigating circumstances, however, that also apply," Decker said. "Cooperating with police is one of those mitigating factors. If Watts led police to his wife and children's bodies, it could potentially save his life.

"I wouldn't go as far as to say it's being offered up or negotiated, but certainly law enforcement will be advising him that his participation would at least be some form of mitigation under the circumstances."

At the very least, Watts will spend the rest of his life behind bars without parole if he's convicted.

Watts isn't being charged with four counts of murder because his wife was pregnant. Colorado is one of 12 states without a fetal homicide law recognizing a fetus as a human being.

State lawmakers voted down such a measure in 2013 over fears it would interfere with abortion rights and voters rejected a similar ballot measure in 2014.

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