GREELEY, Colo. -– The families of the victim and defendant in the Watts murder trial are trading words, a week before he is set to be sentenced in Weld County Court for killing his pregnant wife and two daughters.
Christopher Watts’ mother said she believes he did kill Shannan, but she does not believe he killed his daughters, Bella and Celeste.
Cindy Watts said in a Skype interview from her North Carolina home that she believes he was coerced into pleading guilty to all the charges against him.
“It’s very difficult. I just can’t imagine my son doing that. I don’t know how he could do that. I want to stop it before it’s too late," Cindy Watts said.
"I want to talk to him, we haven’t been able to talk to him. I know I raised a good man and he was such a good person, such a good person. He was not a sociopath or psychopath or kill animals or anything like that ... didn’t do any of these things people are saying he did.
"He’s not that monster people are portraying to him to be. I love my son no matter what. I want to fight for him. I don’t want him to go down for something he didn’t do.”
Shannan Watts’ family released a statement through their attorneys.
"Shanann Watts was a faithful wife, and the most gentle and loving mother in the world to her children Bella, Celeste, and Nico. She was also the best daughter any parent could ever hope for. Shanann was a wonderful soul.
"Everyone who knew Shanann knows this to be true. Even Chris Watts knows this to be true. Yet Chris Watts still chose to murder Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico. Chris Watts still chose to dump the bodies of his own family in oil tanks. And Chris Watts still chose to lie about it until he could lie no more. He pled guilty to murdering his family because he is guilty.
"Monday evening, the parents of Chris Watts gave an interview in which they attempted to defend their son. In doing so, they felt the need to make vicious, grotesque and utterly false statements about Shanann. Their false statements, however hurtful and inaccurate, will never alter the truth about Shanann, and will never alter the truth about the crimes committed by their son, Chris Watts.
"Shanann’s memory and reputation deserves to be protected. And her family is fully prepared to do so."
Legal experts not involved in the case weighed in on the new developments.
“Basically a desperate act by a loving mother who probably has no idea of the particulars of the evidence or her sons criminal acts or decisions in the aftermath of them," defense attorney Chris Decker said.
"Not particularly uncommon for a mother to have the perspective of “not my son”. The court probably won’t take any action unless something is filed or raised by the defense.”
Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said there is a way to withdraw a plea before sentencing, but does not believe it will happen in this case.
“Remember the mother is not in a position to withdraw the plea," Steinberg said. "The mother can scream and yell and do everything she wants. Maybe it’s appropriate, maybe it’s not, but ultimately it’s his decision after sitting and talking to his lawyers.
"There is a rule, rule 32 allows the withdraw of plea prior to sentencing if there is a fair and just reason. I don’t know what the fair and just reason is here. So do I think there is a likelihood that any judge would allow him to withdraw the plea? The answer is no.”
Watts is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Weld County Court. He faces several life sentences in the deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty.