Christopher Watts’ attorneys ask to file sealed motion containing health information

GREELEY, CO - AUGUST 21: Christopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in Greeley, Colorado. Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife and his two young daughters. (Photo by RJ Sangosti - Pool/Getty Images)

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Attorneys for Christopher Watts, the Frederick man accused of killing his wife and children, are asking the court for permission to file a sealed pleading that contains health information, according to court documents.

According to the document that was filed Oct. 12, Watts’ attorneys claim the file would include information that is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA.

Attorneys also asked for an ex parte hearing on the issue in the document. An ex parte hearing is a meeting between the judge, defendant and attorneys. It does not include the prosecution.

Watts, 33, is charged with nine felonies, including three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, in the deaths of his 34-year-old wife Shanann, 4-year-old daughter Bella and 3-year-old daughter Celeste.

RELATED: Full coverage of deaths of pregnant mother, two daughters

He also has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder — victim under 12/position of trust, one count of first-degree unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Watts would face a mandatory life sentence in prison. Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke has 63 days after an arraignment to serve notice if he will seek the death penalty.

According to an arrest affidavit, Christopher Watts was actively involved in an affair with one of his co-workers. He admitted to the affair at first, then denied it, according to prosecutors.

RELATED: Christopher Watts arrest affidavit

The arresting documents claim Watts caught his wife strangling their daughters to death after the couple had a conversation about them separating early in the morning of Aug. 13 in their Frederick home.

He claims he then strangled his wife “in a rage.” Watts told investigators he loaded the bodies into his work truck and buried them on property owned by his employer, Anadarko Petroleum.

Shanann Watts, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and her daughters were reported missing at 1:40 p.m. on Aug. 13.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued a missing-endangered alert for the three the next day.

Christopher Watts said in a several interviews  that he didn’t know where his wife and daughters were.

The Frederick Police Department, the CBI and the FBI canvassed the area before arresting Christopher Watts on Aug. 15.

The body of Shanann Watts, 34, was recovered in a shallow grave near an oil tank.

Court documents said the girls were found in an oil well in close proximity to their mother’s body.

Court documents filed by defense lawyer James Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days.

Christopher Watts remains in a Weld County Jail as he awaits a status conference on Nov. 19.

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