‘You heartless monster': Family of murdered pregnant wife reads statements at Watts' sentencing

Posted at 11:41 AM, Nov 19, 2018

GREELEY, Colo. — At the conclusion of his statement, Frank Rzucek, the father of Shanann Watts, said he has 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 read a statement 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, Colorado.

“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 Shannan 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. Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke read the brother's statement while he stood next to the podium.

“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 he wrote the statement full of 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 Shannan 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,” she said. “You took your own life.”

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