Convicted murderer Chris Watts is opening up from his Wisconsin prison cell. Watts, who murdered pregnant wife Shanann and their two daughters, is telling the story of the family feud he claims led to murdering his wife in their home in 2018.
Chris Murdered Shanann, Their Unborn Son, and Two Daughters
In early to mid-2018, Chris began having an affair with co-worker Nichol Kessinger. Kessinger would later claim she had no idea that Chris was still married, saying he had told her he was in the process of divorce.
In June, Shanann filmed herself surprising Chris with the news that they were pregnant with their third child. The couple already had daughters Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4. Shanann later revealed that the baby was a boy, and that Chris was uninterested at the ultrasound.
That same month, the affair between Kessinger and Chris turned serious, according to Kessinger.
In early August, tensions between Chris’s family and Shanann erupted over something he later dismissively called, “nutgate.” Shanann accused his family of exposing their nut-allergic daughter to one of her allergy triggers, and blasted Chris for not supporting her against his family. Shanann began reaching out to friends with concerns about their marriage, saying Chris was cold and, “not like himself.” Shanann had concerns that Chris was enjoying the bachelor life, leaving her home and going through pregnancy and raising their daughters alone.
On August 13th, Shanann returned from a business trip late at night. According to Chris, they had sex and then went to sleep. However, the next morning would change everything.
Chris recounts how they fought that morning. During interviews with investigators, he revealed that although he didn’t confirm the affair, Shanann knew about it. Chris claims he snapped, and he strangled pregnant Shanann to death. Daughter Bella walked in at some point and asked, “what’s wrong with mommy?”
According to Chris, he bundled his wife’s body up in a bedsheet while little Bella watched, then loaded her into the bed of his truck. He placed Bella and Celeste on the bench seat of his pickup truck and drove his wife’s body and their daughters out to an oil refinery.
At the oil site, Chris dumped his pregnant wife’s body, then smothered little Bella and Celeste. He dumped their bodies in separate oil vats.
Initially, after a friend reported Shanann missing, Chris played the dutiful husband worried about his missing wife and daughters. He was arrested later after his alibi crumbled and other evidence pointed to his involvement.
Chris initially told investigators that his wife had killed Bella and Celeste to hurt him, and in a rage at seeing his daughter’s bodies, he killed her. He did not reveal the truth until his trial. Chris pled guilty and was later sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for the cold and brutal murders of his family.
The Family Feud
OK! reports that Shanann began suspecting Chris’s mother of taking dangerous chances with Celeste, who had a life-threatening nut allergy.
Per OK!, “the child, who had a nut allergy, was allegedly served ice cream with peanut chips by her grandmother one summer night, resulting in a furious text from Shanann to Chris accusing his mother of being reckless with the little girl’s life for the sole purpose of upsetting Shanann.
‘You should call your dad and tell him you did not appreciate your mom putting your daughter at risk today,’ she fumed. ‘She’s evil and willing to risk your daughter’s life just to get under my skin …You and your dad are no different if you are ok with her behavior. There’s nothing wrong with me and l’m not crazy. I just love my kids way too much.’
Watts attempted to placate his wife by saying he would text his father about the matter, writing back to Shanann: ‘l will call him and tell him what I think about this. lt’s not f**king cool at all because it is the kids. I will set this right.’”
The Feud Escalates
After that incident, Chris’s parents blocked Shanann on Facebook and the tensions escalated. According to Chris, they considered Shanann an abusive wife who wasn’t good enough for him. However, in Chris’s texts to Shanann over the tension, he seemed to take his wife’s side.
In texts obtained by OK!, Shanann talked about her disinterest in patching things up with Chris’s family; “‘These kids are my world and I have to protect them from the evil of the world. I shouldn’t have to protect them from evil family. Our kids deserve the same love and attention the other kids get. Nothing less. I’m not accepting l’m sorry from your mom. Bc she doesn’t mean it and she knew what she was doing. I made it very clear not to eat it around Celeste Bc she doesn’t understand way before that happened.
‘She’s evil and willing to risk your daughter’s life just to get under my skin. You and your dad are no different if you are ok with her behavior. There’s nothing wrong with me and l’m not crazy. I just love my kids way too much.’
Shanann went on to say that ‘something changed’ between her and Chris. She added, ‘I am not going to be treated this way for having the balls to protect our family and kids.’”
Chris agreed with his wife; “Watts seemed to be in agreement with his wife, admitting his mom ‘truly screwed up in a huge way,’ but then added: ‘l’m sorry for the way l’ve been acting, it’s just been in my head and I haven’t been right at all.’”
Chris Claims the Tensions Were Part of his Motive for Murder
In interviews with investigators, Chris claimed that Shanann had driven a wedge between himself and his family since the beginning of their relationship. According to Chris, the frustrations he experienced over estrangement with his family is part of what led him to snap that morning in August of 2018.
The judge and jury, however, didn’t seem to feel much sympathy for Chris. He remains in his prison cell in Waupun, WI, where he will stay until he dies, without possibility of parole.
Their family home, which was listed in 2018, remains on the market after skittish buyers shy away from the horrifying history kept within it’s walls.