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Chris Watts Girlfriend Speaks Out Ahead of Denver Killer’s Sentencing

By Zachary Stieber

The girlfriend of Chris Watts—the man who pleaded guilty to killing his wife Shanann Watts, their two young daughters, and their unborn son—said she didn’t know he was married.

Watts, 33, pleaded guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty and is expected to be sentenced to life in jail.

Watts was having an affair before the murders. His girlfriend Nichol Kessinger, 30, said she started dating him in July and said she thought he was divorced.

“We had just met. I barely knew him,” Kessinger told the Denver Post about the short relationship. Watts killed his family in August.

Kessinger said she met Watts while both worked at Anadarko Petroleum, where Shanann Watts also worked. Watts introduced himself to her in the middle of June, and he did not wear a wedding ring.

“When he spoke to me, he was very softspoken. He appeared to be a good listener,” she said. He told her he had two daughters but claimed he was separated and near the end of divorce proceedings when in fact he was living with his family in their Frederick home.

As they began a relationship, he told her he wanted to find an apartment and that the divorce was finalized by the end of July. “He made me believe that he was doing all of the things that a rational man and good father would do,” she said.

She only found out the truth when details of the murders began to emerge.

“When I read the news, I found out he was still married and his wife was 15 weeks pregnant,” Kessinger said. “I thought, ‘If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?’” She believes he killed his family.

chris watts in court
Christopher Watts is escorted into the courtroom before his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colo., on Aug. 16, 2018. (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)

Death Penalty

While Shanann Watts’ parents wanted the death penalty for their daughter’s killer, Chris Watts’s parents said he may not have killed his family.

Cindy Watts said that his family wasn’t allowed to talk to him before he accepted the plea deal.

“It would have helped us so much to be able to talk to him,” she told 9 News. “I wouldn’t have to go through all this now. Everything seems to be shrouded in secrecy. Just tell us what is going on.”

Chris Watts claimed that he and Shanann discussed separating after returning from a trip and that she killed their daughters in a rage. Prosecutors said he killed all three.

Cindy Watts said she barely saw her granddaughters because she and her daughter-in-law didn’t get along. Chris Watts’s parents didn’t attend the wedding. “I didn’t like the way she treated him,” she said.

She said she doesn’t understand why he took the plea deal and why his lawyers blocked her and her husband from being in contact with their son.