Chris Watts Transferred to Out-of-State Prison for Security Reasons

By Zachary Stieber

Chris Watts, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters, was transferred to a prison outside the state of Colorado.

Watts, 33, killed Shanann Watts, 33 and 15 weeks pregnant, as well as Bella Watts, 4, and Celeste Watts, 3, at their home in Frederick on Aug. 13. Law enforcement officials said that he concealed the bodies, carried them out to his vehicle, and tried to hide them in oil tanks at his workplace, Anadarko Petroleum.

The bodies were found several days later and Watts confessed to the killings. He pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death penalty sentence.

Watts’s plea deal was entered on Nov. 6 and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility or parole on Nov. 19.

Watts is now in a prison outside of Colorado, the Department of Corrections confirmed, but it’s not clear what state he’s being held in.

“It’s for safety and security, not just for him, but for our staff, everyone,” Corrections spokesman Mark Fairbairn told the Denver Post.

Family members of Shanann Watts and the Weld County District Attorney’s Office have been notified of the move.

An unnamed source described as being close to Chris Watts told People Magazine that the move happened on Dec. 1 or Dec. 2 and that there weren’t any objections from the district attorney’s office or Watts’s attorneys.

“It was for his own safety,” the source said. “He’s too well-known in Colorado.”

Chris Watts in court for his sentencing hearing
Christopher Watts in court for his sentencing hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colo., on Nov. 19, 2018. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP, Pool)

Texts, Google Searches Revealed

The prison transfer came after records of texts and phone conversations between Chris and Shanann Watts, and Chris Watts and his mistress Nichol Kessinger were revealed.

Texts showed that Shanann was trying to repair her relationship with Chris while he was focused on the affair he was having with Kessinger.

“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,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said during the sentencing.

Records released by the office showed Shanann’s optimism that the couple had turned a corner just days before her husband murdered her and their children.

Chris and Shanann Watts in a file photo. (Shanann Watts/Facebook)
watts and kessenger
Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger on a trip in an undated photo. (Weld County District Attorney’s Office)

The records included online searches conducted by Kessinger, who was regularly sending Chris Watts photographs.

Just days before the killings, she searched for wedding dresses, spending several hours clicking around on the Internet.

The searches also included Amber Frey and Frey’s book deal. Frey is the mistress of convicted murderer Scott Peterson. She wrote a book titled, “Witness: For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson.”

Kessinger has said that Watts lied to her and said he was divorced and that she only found out that he was still married from news reports after Shanann Watts disappeared.