The Unraveling of Chris Watts Before He Murdered His Family

A couple weeks after her son pleaded guilty, Cindy Watts was still wondering why Chris didn’t want a trial, telling 9News in Spring Lake, N.C., that his attorney had cut off contact between Chris and their family. (The attorney didn’t respond to 9News’ request for comment about that claim.)

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

After his arrest, Chris had asked to see his dad, and authorities eventually let Ronnie Watts into the interview room, where Chris then claimed that he had strangled Shanann after she killed the girls.

“It was pretty much gut-wrenching to hear Chris talk about the fact that he murdered his wife to his own father,” CBI agent Tammy Lee said on Criminal Confessions. “It was the theme of Shanann doing something to the girls, that I had just given him prior to leaving the room. But to actually hear that come out of his mouth, was shocking.”

A source close to Chris told People at the time that he took the plea because “there was physical evidence and his own words that would convict him. His story didn’t work. He got angry. He didn’t want to plead guilty. But he really had no choice, considering the evidence. It took a little bit of time for him to come around, but he did.”

“There was some yelling, and some crying,” the source also said. “But eventually he acknowledged that his life was over after he killed Shanann. He would have been facing years of legal challenges, and best-case scenario he would have been acquitted. Worst-case scenario, he gets put to death.”

Chris “is not the sociopath next door. He’s not a psychopath,” Cindy insisted to 9News. Despite his confession, she still wondered if Chris really did kill the children—but either way the thought of him doing so “scares me to death,” she admitted. “It scares me to death to think that he could have done all of this. And I don’t wanna go there. I don’t wanna go there now.”