Christopher Watts’ Parents Granted Permission to Speak During Sentencing Hearing in Frederick Murder Case
Cynthia and Ronnie Watts, the parents of Christopher Watts, have been granted permission to make a statement Monday before a Weld County judge sentences their son to life in prison without parole for killing his pregnant wife and their two daughters.
“Cindy and Ronnie Watts are the paternal grandparents of Bella Watts and Celeste Watts,” District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow wrote in an order. “The paternal grandparents are ‘victims’” under Colorado law.
Watts’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.
Cindy Watts has said her son should retract his guilty pleas in the high-profile Frederick murder case because she believes his public defenders coerced him and were not looking out for their client’s best interest.
As victims, they are afforded certain rights, including the ability to make a written or oral victim impact statement. During sentencing hearings, crime victims are allowed to speak to the judge or write letters explaining how the crime has impacted their lives, and they are allowed to ask the judge for a more harsh or a more lenient sentence.
Kopcow will allow the grandparents or their designee to deliver a victim impact statement, the order said.
Watts, if he chooses, also will be allowed to address the court to apologize for the crime, explain his actions or beg for mercy.
On Monday, a family friend wrote a letter to Kopcow to complain that the Watts family had been denied access to him since his Aug. 15 arrest. Watts’ mother, father and sister each spent 30 minutes with him the night before he pleaded guilty, and an attorney forbid them to discuss the guilty plea with Watts, the letter said.
“They have felt threatened and bullied when all they want to do is see their son and make sure this is his plea since that is not what his original confession was,” the letter, signed by K Almand, said.
After his arrest, Watts, 33, told investigators that he had seen - via a baby monitor - Shanann strangling one of the girls and the other lying motionless, and that he had strangled his wife in retaliation.
Watts pleaded guilty on Nov. 6 to killing his wife, Shanann, and their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, in August and then hiding their bodies in a Weld County oil field . After Watts first reported them missing, he appeared on local television newscasts, begging for their safe return.
At the time, Watts was having an affair with 30-year-old Nichol Kessinger , a woman he had met while working at an Anadarko Petroleum site in Weld County. Kessinger told The Denver Post they had been seeing each other less than two months, and she called the Weld County Sheriff’s Office to report the affair before Watts’ arrest.