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‘You heartless monster:' Shanann's family reads statements at Chris Watts' sentencing

Posted at 11:41 AM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 09:52:20-05

GREELEY, Colo. — At the conclusion of his statement, Frank Rzucek, the father of Shanann Watts, said he had a message for Chris Watts, who sat silently behind him in an orange jumpsuit in court.

Without turning, he read his last sentence: “Shanann says she’s super excited for justice today.”

Frank Rzucek was the first person to share his testimony at Monday’s sentencing hearing for Watts, who pleaded guilty on Nov. 6 to killing his pregnant wife Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, in August in the small town of Frederick. 

“I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them,” Frank Rzucek said in the court. “And they also trusted you.”

He said after their murders, Watts carried them out of the house “like trash,” buried Shanann in a shallow grave and put the girls in used containers of crude oil, noting that he had watched video surveillance.

“You heartless monster,” he said. “You have to live with this vision every day of your life and I hope you see it every time you close your eyes at night.”

Shanann’s brother, Frank Rzucek, Jr., echoed those sentiments in his statement, saying he prays Watts never finds a moment of peace or sleeps well at night. He asked Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke to read his statement for him, but chose to stand next to the podium at the front of the court. 

“You went from being my brother, my sister’s protector, one of those most loved people in my family, to someone I will spend the rest of my life trying to understand,” the statement read.

He said when he wrote the statement, he felt hate and betrayal. Watts wasn’t “even worth the time it takes for me to put this pen to this paper,” the statement read.

He said Watts was his family’s hero. They looked up to him. They trusted him to keep them safe.

As Rourke read the statements to the court, Frank Rzucek, Jr. looked back at Watts, who barely raised his eyes from the table in front of him throughout the sentencing.  

“You took away my family from this Earth, but you can never take them from my heart,” the brother's statement read. “You took away my privilege of being an uncle to the most precious little girls I have ever known.”

Frank Rzucek, Jr. explained that his family did not want to pursue the death penalty because they believe nobody has the right to take the life of another.

“My family and I can finally grieve after today," his statement read. "If anything, we will come out of this stronger than we were before, and we will continue to pray for your family.”

The final member of the Rzucek family to speak was Sandra Rzucek, Shanann’s mother. She started her statements by thanking those who had helped her family, ranging from the town of Frederick to the FBI. She also thanked everybody who had sent the family cards, prayers and kind messages, which came in from all over the world, she said.

She wore a purple ribbon at the podium, which has become a sign to honor the memory Shanann and her children in Frederick.

Shanann loved Watts and their children with all of her heart, she said. Her family was her world.

“We loved you like a son,” she said at the podium. “We trusted you. Your faithful wife trusted you. Your children adored you. And they also trusted you.”

They will stay protected by God and his angels, she said, and her family will continue loving them.

“Not only did you take a family of four — your family of four — you took your own life," she said.

Watts was sentenced to five life sentences with no possibility of parole on Monday. 

READ MOREChris Watts' parents tell son at sentencing they love him, hope he will atone for murder of family