Prosecutors ask judge to block public release of autopsy reports in Christopher Watts case

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WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Prosecutors in the Christopher Watts case have asked to keep the autopsy reports for Shanann, Celeste and Bella Watts private until the trial is underway, according to court documents filed Monday.

In the filing, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke and two of his deputy district attorneys argue the reports “will be critical evidence at trial.”

Christopher Watts’ attorneys also filed a response to a request from prosecutors to obtain DNA evidence, buccal swabs and finger and palm prints.

His attorney argues giving up fingerprints and DNA samples is unconstitutional.

Christopher 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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