Bella Watts, 4, walked in on her father Chris Watts strangling her pregnant mother, the family’s attorney revealed in a new interview.
Chris Watts, 33, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after admitting he killed his wife Shanann Watts, 34, and their two daughters, Bella and 3-year-old Celeste on Aug. 13, 2018.
Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant when she was killed.
According to the Watts family attorney, Chris Watts told investigators in a prison interview in February that young Bella came into the room as Watts was strangling his wife.
Bella walked in and asked her dad, “What are you doing with mommy?” the lawyer said.
The interview was published as a preview clip for an upcoming episode of “Dr. Phil.”
The lawyer said the killings seemed to stem from a fight the couple had over Chris Watts’s affair, which angered Shanann Watts and led her to tell him: “You’re not going to see the kids again.”
“As a consequence of this conversation, he strangled her to death,” the attorney said.
Prosecutors previously said that Bella fought for her life as Chris Watts strangled her to death.
Weld County Prosecutor Michael Rourke told the court prior to Watts being sentenced that Bella “fought back for her life as her father smothered her.”
“Imagine the horror in Bella’s mind as her father took her last breaths away,” Rourke added.
The county coroner found blunt force trauma on the girl’s jaw, and lacerations, and contusions in her mouth. The autopsy also found teeth impressions, and superficial bite marks on the surface of her tongue.
Although there are no signs of Celeste struggling, the coroner believes she also died from asphyxiation due to smothering.
Shanann had bruises on the neck that can be explained by her husband’s strangulation, Rourke said.
“We know that our experts tell us that it takes two to four minutes to strangle someone to death manually with their own hands,” he said. “The horror that she felt as the man that she loved wrapped his hands around her throat, and choked the life out of her must have been unimaginable.”
“He had a desire for a fresh start, to begin a new relationship with a new love,” Rourke said.
Watts’s mistress said shortly before the trial that he misled her into thinking that he had already separated, and divorced from his wife.
Rourke described how Watts furtively communicated with, met, and planned meetings with his mistress while his wife was focused on him and their family.
“While Shanann texted the defendant over and over again in the days and weeks leading up to her death, attempting to save her marriage, the defendant secreted pictures of his girlfriend into his phone, and searched, and texted her at all hours of the night,” Rourke said.
“While Shanann sent the defendant self-help and counseling books, he was searching the internet for secluded vacation spots to take his new love, and researching jewelry.”
Rourke expressed confusion as to why Watts killed his family instead of just getting a divorce.
“You don’t annihilate your family and throw them away like garbage,” he told the court. “Why did they have to lose their lives in order for him to get what he wanted?”