On Thursday, Judge Marcelo A. Kopcow said he’d allow Cindy and Ronnie Watts, the parents of Christopher Watts, to deliver an impact statement at his upcoming sentencing hearing because they are the grandparents of two of the victims. This comes after the couple voiced support for their son, and mom Cindy suggested that Shanann Watts was “more capable” of murdering 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.
“I just want to make sure he’s doing the right thing,” Ronnie Watts told WTVD. “If he didn’t kill the children, I want him to say so, then let them prove it.”
Shanann’s family pushed back hard on the interview, and called the Watts’ comments “vicious, grotesque, and utterly false.”
Either the defendants’ parents or their designee will be allowed to speak at the sentencing hearing scheduled for Monday.
Christopher Watts pleaded guilty on November 6 to killing his wife and the daughters, but his parents said that they believe the story detailed in the arrest affadavit. In it, Chris Watts said he killed his wife after she fatally strangled their daughters. The terms of his guilty plea contradicts this. In it, he is admitting to killing not only Shanann, but Bella and Celeste as well.
Watts’ mother has apparently been busy behind the scenes in opposing the guilty plea. An attorney identified as K. Almand wrote Kopcow on Cindy’s behalf, in a letter dated November 12, 2018. He said that Christopher Watts’ family have been denied contact with him.
The night before the hearing they were allowed to visit for 30 min each (father, mother and sister) which is the first contact they’ve had since arrest. During the meeting, his mother attempted to ask him if this was what he really wanted (a plea deal) and was told “do NOT ask him that or we will shut this shit down NOW” by the attorney present. They have felt threatened and bullied when all they want to do is see their son and make sure this is his plea since that is not what his original confession was.
According to Almand, the family believed that Watts was pushed into making this plea, and isolated these past three months. He said the family wants a new attorney to talk to Chris on their behalf, and to figure out “if this is a true confession” or something founded on bad treatment by the public defenders office. The letter mentioned that Cindy Watts left two voice message with the judge’s office.
On Tuesday, Kopcow released an order recognizing Almand’s letter, but he said he was prohibited from having ex-parte communications with any third-party in the case, or talking about the case outside court. Although he has allowed Watts’ parents to deliver impact statements, he denied the attempt to introduce a new attorney into the case.
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
[Screengrab via WTVD]