Man confesses to murder of pregnant woman, children: reports
Chris Watts is in custody after reportedly admitting to police that he killed his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and their two young daughters; Jonathan Hunt reports on the horrifying case in Colorado.
The arrest of a Colorado man who is accused of the murder of his pregnant wife and two daughters has reignited a debate in the state fetal murder laws.
Christopher Watt, 33, was arrested in Frederick, Colo., Wednesday night, after authorities found the body of his wife, Shanann Watts, 34, on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum where he worked.
Colorado has no fetal homicide law, Shanann Watts case reignites debate https://t.co/BFUgNomW5y pic.twitter.com/TxbeeFpo1o
— FOX31 Denver KDVR (@KDVR) on August 17, 2018
Prosecutors said Thursday that they believe Watts committed the murder at the family’s residence. Thursday evening, the city officials said the authorities had found two bodies, “who (they) have strong reason to believe” are the Watts’ 3 – and 4-year-old daughter.
Watt is expected to be formally charged Monday on three counts of first-degree murder and three charges of tampering with physical evidence, but will not murder responsible for the death of the couple’s unborn child, Denver’s FOX 31 reported.
While Colorado does increase the penalties for crimes committed against pregnant women, not to grant “personhood” status of an unborn fetus.
Under Colorado law, a person can be charged with fetal murder only if it can be proven that the baby can survive outside the womb.
In 2015, a woman in Longmont, Colorado, was accused of stabbing of a pregnant woman in the abdomen and the removal of her baby. The woman was not charged with murder by Colorado’s laws relating to fetal personality, the Durango Herald reported.
Colorado lawmakers then tried and failed to change state laws with regard to fetal murder. A proposed measure, Senate Bill 268, would have made killing a fetus a murder, except in certain circumstances. The bill was largely supported by Republicans but opposed by Democrats on the grounds that it threatened abortion rights.
At the time, Planned Parenthood called the bill “dangerous for women,” and accused proponents of “disregard of the values and of Colorado voters.”
There are currently 38 states that have fetal homicide laws.
Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.