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CRIME AND JUSTICE WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

The confusing and strange mystery of the Watts murders; increasing interest in this case. Aired 6-8p ET

Aired September 5, 2018 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Muhammad was asked if he wished to make a last statement. He did not acknowledge this or make any statement

whatsoever. He seemed very unemotional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m still on death row fighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prior to his execution, however, Muhammad did speak. This short video was made after his conviction and aired on CNN in 2007.

It included what seemed to be an oddly upbeat farewell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for your patient kindness and your sacrifice you always made. Peace. May god be with you all? Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will now begin. We`ll never know their pin. And we only wish we could have stopped this to reduce the number of victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHANANN WATTS, VICTIM, WIFE OF CHRIS WATTS: We say I am loved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am loved.

S. WATTS: I am beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shanann was a woman of love.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HOST, HLN CRIME AND JUSTICE: Inside the home of Chris and Shanann Watts.

S. WATTS: Give me a hug.

CHRISTIAN WATTS, HUSBAND OF SHANANN WATTS, SUSPECT: All right. Thank you.

BANFIELD: Tender moments.

S. WATTS: She was going to get to hear the baby`s heartbeat and see how he or she was doing.

BANFIELD: Milestones and celebrations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy birthday to you.

S. WATTS: Boy, boy. Chris wants a boy. I hope it`s a boy for him.

BANFIELD: A flood of gratitude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

S. WATTS: He is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

BANFIELD: But demons lurking.

WATTS: Guess when you want to, it happens.

BANFIELD: Infidelity, dark secrets, and more waiting to be unearthed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Watts has had relationships outside of his marriage with both men and women.

BANFIELD: How could Chris Watts act so loving on camera? Then say this as his wife and children lay rotting in a field.

WATTS: I just want them back. I just want them to come back.

BANFIELD: He tried to fool just about everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first, did they see anything?

WATTS: I want to get out and drive around. You want don`t know what to look for.

BANFIELD: But he is now accused of a family massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do not desire vengeance and death, but justice and light.

BANFIELD: The death penalty hangs in the balance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just thinking of the tragedy and feeling sorry for the family.

BANFIELD: Tonight, locked up in solitary. Watts sings a very different tune.

(END VIDEO)

BANFIELD: Good evening, everyone. I`m Ashleigh Banfield. And welcome to "Crime and Justice." When you work in the business of murder, there are so

many questions that need answers. Who did it, how did the victims die? What was the murder weapon? And do the forensics tell the story?

The one question, though, that is often hardest to answer is why? Why do people kill? And when it comes to the allegations against Chris Watts,

that he murdered his own wife and children, the question is even more bewildering. Because why would a man who seemed so incredibly happy, whose

family seemed so full of joy, why would a man like that murder people like them?

And if Shanann Watts` Facebook is any indication, the hours upon hours of family videos that she so proudly shared, this family seemed blessed to be

together. And yet investigators are left trying to connect the dots. Was he just a loving family man on the surface? But a twisted family killer

deep down?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: You guys.

Hop on to daddy. They want to do that again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Hard to process, knowing now what we know. Joining me now, Jenna Ellis, a Denver based attorney, radio host, and also Washington

examiner contributor. Jenna, when you see these pictures, it`s hard to remember what we`re facing now as opposed to those few months ago. And

it`s hard to put that in context, because we have that question looming over this case. Why would anybody kill a family that he seemingly on video

loved so much?

[18:05:18] JENNA ELLIS, ATTORNEY AND HOST, KLZ RADIO: I think Ashleigh, that is going to be the most difficult part for the prosecution in this

case, is to be able to give the jury an answer of why would this possibly have occurred, and the jury is going to want an answer. They`re not going

to simply just want to take for granted what the evidence may show that is on face. They`re going to want to have an answer to why would someone who

seemingly has this very loving family ever want to commit such atrocities.

BANFIELD: You are close to -- this is your backyard. I mean, not only is this where you`re from, you worked for the Weld County D.A., the exact D.A.

That now has to navigate this case. And these mysteries.

ELLIS: Yes, I did. I was a prosecutor for the Weld County district attorney`s office, and then I switched into criminal defense and I have

defended cases against Weld County as well, and they`re a very, very aggressive prosecution office, and so it would not surprise me in the least

if they went after the death penalty in this case, just because of their prosecution philosophy.

BANFIELD: I`m glad you touched on that. We`re going to get to that in this program, because there`s a whole technical menu that is coming up in

the next weeks and month ahead that we`re going to lay out for our viewers. So they know exactly where this stands and they don`t have to keep guessing

when are we going to find out the next shoe to drop. But before I do that, whenever I talk with anybody outside of the studio, it`s a lot more casual

and reserved, the conversation, but nonetheless, everybody is mystified.

Not that someone might kill a spouse, because we see that a lot, but he killed potentially the children, if the allegations are true. And then you

go back to the Facebook videos, and it`s hard to look at those Facebook videos and try to assess whether this family is faking it or whether this

family was this happy and something went terribly wrong. It`s just hard to make sense of it. Let me show you this moment where the whole family is

together doing what we all love to do with our kids, just baking cookies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: Right now, we`re making chocolate chip cookies. We`re going to make sugar cookies, Italian cookies.

WATTS: Yes. You guys are making cookies. Good job, Belle. Whoa, good job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yucky.

WATTS: That is not yucky. All right. We got little bowls. Good job.

S. WATTS: Wrong bowl.

WATTS: Wrong bowl. OK. Hold on.

S. WATTS: It`s OK. One more. Put it in the red bowl.

WATTS: Right here. Hold it.

S. WATTS: Put it in that bowl, the red bowl. Red bowl, good girl.

WATTS: Good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Did you notice those little shirts? They had the snowmen on them. If you`re wondering if that was a long time ago, it wasn`t. It was

just last December. It was Christmas. They were baking cookies as a family. So again, with that prism in mind, when you see this next video,

it is again Christmas and it is also something we all do with our kids. We do the Christmas scene, if you know what I mean. And in that respect, see

if you can see through anything, if you can assess whether someone`s being fake or whether this really is a typical and happy family. Have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: Santa`s here, but the kids are freaking out. Santa, you gained some weight this year. Come on, Santa. Hold on, Santa. I got to find the

kids, because they`re kind of scared.

Say hi, Santa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Bella. How are you?

S. WATTS: Say I`m good. Say Merry Christmas, Santa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merry Christmas, Bella.

S. WATTS: Say Merry Christmas. Can you go grab it from Santa? Can you say thank you, Santa? Does he have any other presents for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did your sister ask for one too? Is she going to see me or no?

S. WATTS: Say good-bye to Santa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Now, that is a really long video. We have shown you just sort of a highlight, but what you didn`t see was the typical scene when your kid

just won`t play along. You go to all that trouble to set up Santa and the elf, and your child cries through all of it and throws the present down.

It`s normal. It`s what we`ve all been through. And it`s really, really hard to fake that stuff, but if you want to know what it looks like when

someone is faking it on camera, I think we`re all pretty clear now that Chris Watts is not very good at faking it on camera. Because we have iron

clad proof of him lying on camera, telling us all his family was missing and he just wished they would come back in and be in that lonely house

again.

[18:10:10] Now, as police say, he admitted all the while, they were buried out at the oil field. So if you want to see fake, this is what it looks

like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WATTS: I just want them back. I just want them to come back. And if they`re not safe right now, that is what`s tearing me apart, because if

they are safe, they`re coming back. If they`re not, this has got to stop. Like somebody has to come forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: We all had the idea that that was just garbage. The night we saw it. We had that instinct. And I can`t imagine that others didn`t have

it, too, Jenna, and that prosecutors might not be looking at some of these videos to say this is when it`s real and his is when it`s fake, but what

happened in the middle? How will they use the hours upon hours of home video that Shanann posted publicly to bolster their case against them?

ELLIS: They have to establish motive again, because the jury is going to want to know why and they`re going to have to show, what was the lie? And

what was correct and what really was Chris Watts` actual personality that Shanann never saw?

BANFIELD: You`re also the defense attorney. Couldn`t you say I`m going to play all those hours and defend my client by saying, look at this family

man saying grace with his daughters? How could you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury look at that man and suggest he did what you`re alleging that

he did?

ELLIS: Absolutely, and the defense is going to want to show that juxtaposition as well and they`re going to want to say look, this was a

great family man. This was not the lie. Clearly, he snapped. Clearly, there was a mental health issue. Clearly, there`s some kind of mitigating

evidence to show that he couldn`t have just possibly done this in cold blood.

BANFIELD: These are the images that keep coming back to all of us. We`re steeped in this case, we are working this case, and it is like another

Scott Peterson. It is almost all consuming, because there`s so much material and mystery that go hand in hand. But at the same time, we`re

finding new clues as well. And I want to put up a picture, if I can of the top of the oil well at the Anadarko site where these little girls were

dumped. And where Shanann was buried. And I got that circle around the top there, because to the untrained eye, it looks like it might just be

camera monitored. We know that these sites are monitored. How exactly, we`re not clear, but Bobby Chacon is a retired FBI special agent.

I`m sure that picture is not lost on you, and these particular new images of the site where this sort of horrible crime ended, that is insightful,

because if there`s video, that will tell a massive story. Those children and that woman, they were buried likely after sun up.

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI: Yes, that is true. I mean, but look, this is his workplace, so conceivably, if there were cameras up there, he would

know about it, but that doesn`t necessarily help him, if in fact those cameras were covered the night, these children were dumped into those

tanks, then that shows a premeditation or, you know, an attempt to hide himself from being caught on video. You know, the loving husband and

father snapping and doing this really gets kind of taken out by the fact that he loaded them into his pickup truck, drove out there, and you know,

individually buried the wife and then each child was put into these tanks.

That is not something somebody does when they just snap. You know, temporary insanity is temporary. It`s not loading them up, you know, this

is all forensic countermeasures to cover up a crime. This is a consciousness of guilt issue. He knew he was guilty and he knew he had to

hide the evidence for as long as he could. I`m sure he put them in those tanks hoping that they would not be found or their bodies would deteriorate

to the fact there would be no evidence left on them.

So, I don`t see the defense of you know, he was a loving father and he just snapped, if he was that, he would have called 911 and said, oh, my god.

Something terrible happened. I walked in on my wife harming my children and then I harmed her out of rage. And that 911 call is what we would be

talking about right now, but we`re not. We`re talking about cameras on the top of an oil tank where he himself has likely admitted that he put his

children`s bodies.

BANFIELD: Yes, but super powerful images, if a jury actually sees a man dumping the bodies of his children through manhole covers into an oil tank.

Or burying his wife after digging a shallow grave. If all of that exists on video, it is a boon for prosecutors, because nobody feels the same after

seeing that. And it`s that gut that you go after when you`re a prosecutor. I want to show one other thing, if I can.

When we go back to the scene of the oil tanks, and this is tricky because so much of this crime we think we know from the alleged confession.

[18:15:04] So much of the crime we don`t know, but Joseph Scott Morgan, as a certified death investigator, so many of us have wondered, what becomes

of these burial sites of these children? We understand how you would process a shallow grave, but how do you process those oil tanks? And if

indeed both children were in a separate oil tank, look at them. They`re massive, 20 feet high apiece. Would they actually have to somehow preserve

those tanks in a way, cut into them so that they could scan for every bit of forensic evidence that might be, say, at the bottom of the tank or

suspended in the oil? What do you do with a scene as bizarre as this?

JOSEPH SCOTT MORGAN, PROFESSOR OF FORENSIC, JACKSONVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY: It`s a massive undertaking. You essentially have the suspension that these

children`s bodies have been resting in for this period of time, Ash, and the idea here is that, you know, yes, they contained the bodies, but there

also might be some other type of evidence that has been tossed down in there. I`m not completely behind the fact that these kids were strangled

yet, because I don`t have any confirmatory evidence. The autopsy is not in. I`m still looking for everything as a death investigator. What would

have to happen in my opinion and based upon cases I have worked that are kind of similar to this, those tanks would have to be drained and they

would have to pass through some type of screening process. Every bit of oil would have to come out, and you would examine the interior of the

actual tank and then the remnant that was left behind on the screens. It`s a very, very overwhelming task.

BANFIELD: Joe, can I ask you one quick question about the grave site of Shanann Watts? Isn`t it critical to know, and I know this may sound

strange, but there`s a method to this question. Isn`t it critical to know whether Shanann Watts was buried with her beautiful wedding ring and

engagement ring? Because they`re valuable. And this family was known to have some difficulties in finances.

In many of the pictures that we have seen, you can see Shanann`s ring. I think some of the pictures that we`re going to show you, it`s a beautiful

ring, and it would be valuable. And Chris Watts, if anybody, would know that, if he is disposing of his wife the way the police say he confessed to

disposing of her, would it be critical to know if that ring was found in that shallow grave with her?

MORGAN: Yes, yes, it would be, Ash. One of the things I want to drive home the point, I want to drive home and something I teach my students at

University is this, negative findings are just as important as positive findings in forensics. So, if there`s an absence of items like rings that

would put us on to another trail, wouldn`t it? If he didn`t have time to take the rings off, and it was a frenzied event, which has been intimated

at some point along the way. That is significant as well. So, yes, it does have some weight to it.

BANFIELD: Yes. That and the clothing. Was she in her pajamas? Because that would seem to match the narrative of what Chris is alleged to have

confessed. Hold that thought for a moment. I want to say three words. Three really critical words in this case. Cause of death. We don`t have

it, but the M.E. has finished the autopsy. Those bodies have been buried. And typically, we find out by now what the cause of death is. Sometimes we

never find out. Is that the case in the Watts murders? Why is that so critical? That is next.

[18:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: In any murder case, cause of death is key. And cases can be won or lost if the cause of death isn`t found. Which is why it is very curious

that the medical examiner released the bodies of Shanann Watts and her children for burial this past weekend, but have not released their cause of

death. We understand toxicology can take many weeks, but again, the autopsies are over. And still the question remains unanswered. How did

Shanann, Bella, and Cici Watts really die? And could they even find the answer?

Kenya Johnson, as a defense attorney, my feeling is that this is something that is critical for Chris Watts, because as I just said, cases can be won

or loss based on cause of death, not being determined. Do you see this as a potential in this case?

KENYA JOHNSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I see that the autopsy results are certainly would have been made available to the prosecution so that they

could determine the charges that they would issue to Mr. Watts. And so for some reason, the prosecution is holding some of this information back.

BANFIELD: I`ll tell you what, I will go on record right now as to having had a conversation with the D.A.`s office today. A long -- over an hour

conversation with the D.A.`s office. They`re very good at their jobs. They`re telling me very little in an hour-long conversation, but they did

tell me this. The M.E. has not sent that over to them yet. They`re not in possession of that actual autopsy result. They don`t know it. So I found

that amazing.

JOHNSON: That should be amazing, because that means that the prosecution doesn`t have all of the information, but they`re proceeding forward with

charges.

[18:25:06] And so we would have to take a look and see what evidence is currently available to support the charges that he has now, and then what

additional charges may come out once the autopsy results come out. Because there could be more.

BANFIELD: And Joe Morgan, you want to jump on this with cause of death being critical. I think you would know very well the conditions of these

bodies and whether it is going to be possible to determine cause of death here.

MORGAN: Yes, I truly believe that it would be, Ash. Particularly if you`re talking about a manual or ligature strangulation. It would be

rather obvious, I would think. Keep in mind, I was a senior investigator with the M.E. in Atlanta, and before that, I worked at the Jefferson Parish

coroner`s office in New Orleans. I`m kind of familiar with this territory. Many times, the medical legal authorities will hold off releasing

information, because they`re coordinating with police many times. Keep in mind, the M.E. is in charge of the body. And they will state a cause of

death sooner or later, but this is an ongoing homicide case. Many times the police will just simply ask will you please lay back, hold off, we`re

going to wait for all the testing to come in. So, yes, they might be still waiting on tox, they might be still be waiting on histology, that is the

study of the tissues. But yes, it would seem that they could have offered up at least a preliminary cause of death.

BANFIELD: OK. I want to bring in Ari Zoldan, he is a technology analyst and chairman of Quantum Media Group. And Ari, your expertise is key here,

because all of these forensic pieces of the puzzle will be critical, but so will the technical forensics like Chris Watts` cell phone. Shanann Watts`

cell phone. There has been myriad records about Chris Watts having extramarital affairs.

"People" magazine has an inside source saying he had many different lovers, both men and women. We ourselves have interviewed someone of this ilk, and

so his phone has got to be a gold mine. Do you see it as presenting a problem at any point in terms of finding dating apps that maybe have been

erased or text messages that maybe have been erased? Can you find all the caches of all this stuff?

ARI ZOLDAN, CHAIRMAN QUANTUM MEDIA GROUP: Ashleigh, I think 98 percent of the stuff is going to be there, either in the hardware or the software.

When I am talking about software, I am talking about your phone over here Ashleigh is living and breathing, right, and it`s constantly communicating

with the cell networks. That cell network holds back the information. So it could tell you the location. It could tell you --

BANFIELD: If he held his phone as he was on his way allegedly to the place where he dumped the bodies, if he stopped off along the way and dispensed

of any evidence, there will be a nice little digital map.

ZOLDAN: There`s some bread crumbs there. Again, it`s not an exact science, because it`s a relatively complicated ecosystem, but there`s data

there, and I think there`s really good data that forensics is going to go on.

BANFIELD: Do you have to be extremely skilled to erase, say, a dating app?

ZOLDAN: You could erase it off your phone, but your location, you can`t erase your location, because the cell networks have your location.

BANFIELD: Can police -- are they skilled enough or FBI, are they skilled enough to recover anything that is been ostensibly wiped?

ZOLDAN: They can, but again it`s an exhaustive process to do, but it is certainly -- we talked about, you know, possible. It certainly is possible

to do that. I think the location is going to be really, really key and working with the telecom carriers to be able to get the location.

BANFIELD: So I want to just go over some of the technical, and I think Jenna, again, what a boon that you worked in the Weld County prosecutor`s

office. There is a technical map effectively, and as I said, I had this very long conversation today with the D.A.`s office. I was under the

impression that Chris Watts has already been arraigned. He has not. So there`s some breaking news for you. Everybody who has written in news

reports for the last couple weeks that he went to his arraignment, he has not been arraigned yet.

In fact, he was advised of his formal charges and he is got a status hearing coming up on November 19th. And if you`re wondering if we`re going

to find out about the death penalty then, not a chance. We are months and months away. The 63 days that the D.A. mentioned that you know, kicks in

after arraignment, as to when they have to declare whether they`re seeking the death penalty or not, that could be well after the November 19th

preliminary, because then they`re going to schedule an arraignment, correct?

ELLIS: Right, so Colorado law is very interesting in the criminal process, because you have just what was called filing of charges which actually is

just at the clerk`s office. And so that was a formal reading of charges, but that was only needing to be filed by the D.A.`s office.

BANFIELD: Not an arraignment. Not an indictment.

ELLIS: Because then you have speedy trial that will kick in.

BANFIELD: The clock starts.

ELLIS: So arraignments can happen even months after the fact because then at that point negotiations usually have broken down, there won`t be a plea,

so it`s just a matter of pleading guilty or not guilty. And at that point, if there`s an arraignment, usually we`re set for trial.

BANFIELD: Well, as all the technical is being put in place by the people in suits and the man in orange, there`s a lot of purple in this story as

well. And what we found out today was heart-rending. I have god to be honest that the town of Frederick, I spoke with one of the city officials

in Frederick today about how the town is sort of coping with what has befallen them.

And there is a picture of town hall with purple ribbons. And there are more than 400 of these purple ribbons that have been distributed all

throughout this town. The town itself assisted Shanann Watts` friends and her neighbors in tying these purple ribbons all around town. They offered

all of these ribbons to anybody who wanted to come out and pay tribute, be there to support them.

You know they said themselves this was a healing process for all of them. People in town were understandably devastated. I think one of the most

difficult concepts to process was that they wanted to pay tribute and pay support, but there`s no one in Frederick to support. The whole family is

dead. You know Chris Watts is in prison or is in jail awaiting trial.

But, you know, Shanann`s family lives in North Carolina. They`re not in Frederick, so really these ribbons are just for the people and their

sorrow. But more than 400 of these were tied up around the town. And I think that`s very heart-rending. And then as if to even sort of tell you

the nature of this town, the police, you know, in Frederick are taking the lead on this investigation.

They are the agency leading this investigation, right? And all the while, the police chief is in mourning as well because it`s a small town. And

this is what he did for this town. While we`re all wondering what they`re doing, this is what the police chief did for his town. He wrote an open

letter to the town. I am going to read a little bit of it for you. This is from Police Chief Todd Norris.

He said over the past few days, the men and women of the Frederick Police Department, as well as the entire community of Frederick, have endured an

emotional rollercoaster as you may expect with such a tragedy hitting our community. He goes on to say I have been working for the town for the past

26 years, and the overwhelming support we have received from this community is unprecedented.

As your Chief, I am honored to be involved in a community such as ours. Thank you again for all of your support. And keep Shanann, Bella, and

Celeste in your thoughts, your hearts, and in your prayers. My god, Jenna, isn`t this the community where we have to pick a jury?

JENNA ELLIS, ATTORNEY AND RADIO HOST: It is. But what`s interesting is it will come from Weld County. And Weld County in Colorado is a very large

county. And so the town of Frederick is really, really small. And this particular agency, I have dealt with as a prosecutor as well as a defense

attorney. And they do take this very, very seriously and personally. But as far as the jury is concerned, there is actually something that is called

getting a large veneer from all of Weld County.

And so the jury will only have to come from Weld County, not specifically from the town of Frederick. And if I am the defense attorney and you have

most of the people coming from Frederick, I am going to object to that.

BANFIELD: Sure.

ELLIS: And say no. We need to get a wider swath.

BANFIELD: Although, I have got to say, people in Australia are watching this story. So I dare say everybody around Weld County is personally

touched by this no matter how big the county. But they picked a jury in Casey Anthony. They had to go to another county to do it, but you pick the

jury in O.J. You can always pick a jury. You can always find it. It takes a little work sometimes but you can do it.

In the meantime, Chris Watts himself, not watching us tonight because he doesn`t have TV in his jail cell. He only gets newspapers once a day for

an hour, sitting outside in the hour out room where he gets to sit. And I am wondering how much he ponders his fate while he`s sitting in that room,

and than I wonder if he is pondering that big question. Are they going to try to kill me, is there going to be a trial and will there be death

penalty, more on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:35:00] BANFIELD: It`s been almost a decade since Colorado won a death penalty case, and more than two decades since they actually went through

with it. But it`s been years, and they have not had a crime like the Watts family murders. And if the death penalty is indeed reserved for the worst

of the worst, it is quite possible the prosecutors might seek the death penalty in the case against Chris Watts. After all, the accusations

against him don`t get much worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three counts of murder in the first degree after deliberation, one count naming Shanann Watts, one count naming Bella, one

count naming Celeste. Each of those is a class one felony. We also filed two counts of first degree murder of a child under the age of 12 by a

person in a position of trust. Obviously, you can tell based upon the elements of those and the description that those counts named Bella and

Celeste as victims.

[18:40:06] Those are both also class one felonies. We filed one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first degree, which is a class

two felony as a result of Shanann being pregnant at the time of her death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: It is so sad to see these three grave sites, four plaques, one for the unborn child along with his mom, and the two little girls on either

side. They were buried on Saturday after memorial service, in which hundreds attended. Jenna Ellis is with me, not just an attorney, not just

a radio host, not just a Washington Examiner Contributor, but also formerly with the Weld County District Attorney`s Office.

So she knows a thing or two about how these prosecutors work. One of the breaks that People Magazine had today dovetails on some of our reporting

yesterday, which was that the -- it was a woman at work with whom he was having an affair. We`ve confirmed it was a woman that she has met with

investigators. That she was cooperating and answering their questions. People Magazine goes on further to say their sources tell them that she is

not suspected of any wrongdoing.

How does this factor in to the case against Chris Watts, the death penalty potential?

ELLIS: Well, he is charged with three counts of murder after deliberation. And so if she can help the prosecutors make the case and really become

their star witness to say Chris promised that he was going to leave his wife. Chris was more fit now because.

(CROSSTALK)

ELLIS: And just to give a motive and reason prosecutors don`t have, that could really bolster their case to show why it was after deliberation and

to undermine his story that there`s really no mitigation here.

BANFIELD: Does it make any difference that the family had financial issues? In fact, we`ve talked a lot about the financial issues, but not

until recently did I know how precipitous the drop in their income was. Take a look at this. Sure, if you have actually seen it laid out like this

before, but the Watts family income in 2013 was $147,250. Look what happened the next year.

It dropped to $90,789. But the Watts` family bank account, the following year in 2015, they had 3. One had a little over $850. The other had a

little over $3.50, and another one had $6. So does motive, does money, does love, does deception, does any of that play into whether death penalty

is on the table or is it just strictly by the book? Are there aggravators, was it heinous, atrocious, and cruel?

ELLIS: I think all of those things will play into the prosecutor`s decision. But even more than what they determine to advance to the jury as

their case for motive. What is going to be even more important in the state of Colorado in particular, is the fact that you have to be death

panel certified as a jury.

BANFIELD: That`s everywhere, isn`t it? You have to certify all jurors to be death qualified.

ELLIS: If you go for the death penalty. So what that means then, Ashleigh, is that every juror has to be willing to say yes, I would impose

the death penalty. So studies have shown that those jurors are actually more prosecution-leaning. So even if they don`t ultimately advance the

death penalty, they are more likely to render a guilty verdict.

BANFIELD: Does it make any difference about a will? First of all, do you know anything at all in your reporting of this story as to whether this

poor woman, Shanann, had a will?

ELLIS: I don`t. But what`s in Colorado that is joint survivorship. And so what that means is if Shanann did not have a living will and she and her

husband were lawfully married and have that marriage that`s license valid in the state of Colorado, typically what happens is he would inherit.

BANFIELD: Regardless?

ELLIS: Regardless.

BANFIELD: So he could face the death penalty or life in prison, no parole, and have her money.

ELLIS: Well, under Colorado law, he would be the heir apparent because of joint renter survivorship.

BANFIELD: Even as a felon?

ELLIS: But not necessarily. After he`s convicted, that becomes a different question. But he may not have known that.

BANFIELD: Thank you. You had me very worried for a moment that a felon could sit there and have an endless commissary account. All right, and

like I said, he is innocent until proven guilty. He is not a felon at this point, but it is leaning towards a pretty tough case against him. That`s

for sure. One of the fascinating layers to this story is how it is grabbing attention online.

Discussions and theories and questions have fired across Facebook like lightning. Twitter and Reddit are alive with this story. Coming up next,

we`re going to address some of the questions from viewers who have been sharing a lot of these thoughts online. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:45:00] BANFIELD: The perplexing mystery of the Watts murders invokes memories of stories that dominated the headlines, Scott Peterson, Jody

Arias. But social media was just finding its footing back then. Now it`s taking over some people`s lives. Take, for instance, the Facebook pages

dedicated to discussions of the case against Chris Watts.

There are about 40,000 people who are members of these pages. And fascination with this case spans all the way to Canada, Australia, Ireland.

Tonight, we thought we would share with you some of the questions that people have about this crime. First and foremost, though, to Ari Zoldan,

upwards of 40,000 people on Facebook pages, the metrics, does that sound out of line for you?

[18:50:20] ARI ZOLDAN, CHAIRMAN, QUANTUM MEDIA GROUP: It`s really significant, Ashleigh. I mean definitely it`s not a typical situation.

People are feeling very connected, for better or for worse about and they have an opinion. So they go to social media and that`s where they get to

express themselves.

BANFIELD: A lot of people on social media, a lot. Let me start with a question from Laura Willis. And I think she`s Laura Willis Albrigo.

Pardon if I have mispronounced your name. Laura asks, I wonder -- I often wonder if the attorneys would ever offer a plea deal, where he would be

required to tell the full, honest, and true story of his motive and exactly what really happened.

And in return, they would take the death penalty off the table. Does that happen, Jenna? Do they bargain that way or do they just say, say you`re

guilty and let`s shut this process down and off you go into your cell forever?

ELLIS: Well, in terms of an allocation hearing, which is basically a confession at the time of a plea agreement, defendants, at least in the

state of Colorado, can typically decide for themselves whether or not they want to make a statement at trial, but whether or not the prosecution wants

to make that an element of the negotiations. That`s possible.

BANFIELD: So there is this moment of the pregnancy. When she announces the pregnancy and surprises Chris with the -- oops, I did it again t-shirt

and the pregnancy stick. And then watch his reaction because Miranda West is going to have a question about that right after. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oops, we did it again. So that means.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s just the test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. That`s just the pink is going to be girls?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guess -- guess when you want to, it happens. Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: The wow takes on a whole lot of meanings now. Miranda asks if you watch the video of him finding out that she`s pregnant, it really does

seem like he was shocked. Like maybe they weren`t trying. Wonder if he didn`t want the baby. And that`s what made him finally snap. Bobby Chacon

is a retired FBI special agent. Do you read anything into the signals that are given in that particular video? That`s a big moment in someone`s life.

You`re about to have a third child.

BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Yeah. I don`t read anything -- he looked like a guy -- he might have been surprised by it. He didn`t seem

particularly dispassionate about it. He seemed to have a reaction. People react to these things differently, you know. So I didn`t read anything

into that. I mean to snap for -- to do what he`s accused of doing, I would think would take a little more than just this.

And it might have been a cumulative effect of the financial stress, the affairs he was having, and this. You know I think that I tend to think

that this -- there`s more of a cumulative effect. I don`t see anything in this video, to me, as an investigator that tips me off, you know, one way

or another.

BANFIELD: So Mary Ann asks this question. Has anyone considered domestic violence, either emotional or physical? His reaction to the pregnancy news

was unusual in the words he spoke. Did she gush about how wonderful he was in the hopes of saving a marriage or stopping possible violence? I can

show you this. There`s a piece of a video whereby she`s gushing over how much she loves Chris Watts, and he`s in the room.

And then she stands up, and I think we might be able to show some of the video of it. She stands up, and she walks outside, and she closes the

door, and she continues to gush without him able to hear any of it. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the community of people we surround ourselves with. Like, I have -- let me go outside. It`s going to be 90 -- 80

degrees today. I was in a really, really, really bad place, and I got a friend to -- friend request from Chris on Facebook. He is the best thing

that has ever happened to me. And because of my health challenges, because I got so sick, I let him in. And he only knew me at that time. He knew me

at my worst, and he accepted me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: And he couldn`t hear any of that gushing. It makes you think a lot, doesn`t it? Thank you so much for your questions, Laura, Miranda, and

Mary Ann, coming up next, the tearful good-bye to this family.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear Shanann, I have so much to say but I will make it short. Daddy loves you. You are a wonderful daughter and a

great mother. You are nothing but pure love, always caring for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reverend (Inaudible).

BANFIELD: The Reverend John Forbes with the tribute from Shanann`s father as she was laid to rest in Pinehurst, North Carolina with her children.

The next hour of Crime and Justice starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We say I am loved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am loved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shanann was a woman of love.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HLN HOST (voice-over): Inside the home of Chris and Shanann watts --

S. WATTS: Give me a hug. Oh. Oh.

CELESTE WATTS, MURDERED DAUGHTER OF SHANANN WATTS: Here you go.

C. WATTS: All right, thank you.

CELESTE WATTS: Hi, mommy.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Tender moments.

NICKOLE ATKINSON, FRIEND OF SHANANN WATTS: She was going to get to hear the baby`s heartbeat and see how he or she was doing.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Milestones and celebrations.

CROWD: Happy birthday to you.

S. WATTS: Boy, boy, Chris wants a boy. I hope it`s a boy for him.

BANFIELD (voice-over): A flood of gratitude.

C. WATTS: Thank you for the (INAUDIBLE).

B. WATTS: Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for our family.

S. WATTS: He is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

BANFIELD (voice-over): But demons lurking.

C. WATTS: It`s a -- guess when you want to, it happens. Wow.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Infidelity, dark secrets, and more waiting to be unearthed.

STEVE HELLING, SENIOR WRITER, PEOPLE: Chris watts has had relationships outside of his marriage with both men and women.

BANFIELD (voice-over): How could Chris watts act so loving on camera?

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD (voice-over): Then say this as his wife and children lay rotting in a field.

C. WATTS: I just want them back. I just want them to come back.

BANFIELD (voice-over): He tried to fool just about everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your neighbors, did they see anything?

C. WATTS: I was like, I want to get out and drive around, and they said, you wouldn`t know what to look for.

BANFIELD (voice-over): But he`s now accused of a family massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do not desire vengeance and death but justice and light.

BANFIELD (voice-over): The death penalty hangs in the balance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just thinking of the tragedy and feeling sorry for the family.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Tonight, locked up in solitary --

(SINGING)

BANFIELD (voice-over): -- Watts sings a very different tune.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Good evening, everyone. I`m Ashleigh Banfield and welcome to CRIME AND JUSTICE.

When you work in the business of murder, there are so many questions that need answers. Who did it? How did the victims die? What was the murder

weapon? And do the forensics tell the story?

The one question, though, that is often hardest to answer is why. Why do people kill? And when it comes to the allegations against Chris Watts,

that he murdered his own wife and children, the question is even more bewildering.

Because why would a man who seems so incredibly happy, whose family seemed so full of joy, why would a man like that murder people like them?

And if Shanann Watts` Facebook is any indication, the hours upon hours of family videos that she so proudly shared, this family seemed blessed to be

together. And yet, investigators are left trying to connect the dots.

Was he just a loving family man on the surface but a twisted family killer deep down?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: You silly goose. You guys.

C. WATTS: Is that Cece?

S. WATTS: Yes.

C. WATTS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

C. WATTS: Let`s go.

B. WATTS: We`re ready.

S. WATTS: No purse, Cece.

C. WATTS: No purse.

S. WATTS: Hold on to Daddy.

(SCREAMING)

S. WATTS: They want to do that again.

(LAUGHTER)

C. WATTS: Oh.

S. WATTS: Oh, Cece.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Hard to process, knowing now what we know. Joining me now, Jenna Ellis, a Denver based attorney, radio host, and also "Washington

Examiner" contributor.

Jenna, when you see these pictures, it`s hard to remember what we`re facing now as opposed to those few months ago. And it`s hard to put that in

context because we have that question looming over this case, why would anybody kill a family that he seemingly, on video, loved so much?

JENNA ELLIS, HOST, 560 KLZ THE SOURCE: And I think, Ashleigh, that`s going to be the most difficult part for the prosecution in this case, is to be

able to give the jury an answer of why would this possibly have occurred.

And the jury`s going to want an answer. They`re not going to simply just want to take for granted what the evidence may show that`s on face.

They`re going to want to have an answer to why would someone who seemingly has this very loving family ever want to commit such atrocities.

BANFIELD: You are close to -- this is your backyard. I mean, not only is this where you`re from, you worked for the Weld County D.A., the exact D.A.

that now has to navigate this case and these mysteries.

[19:04:58] ELLIS: Yes, I did. I was a prosecutor for the Weld County District Attorney`s Office. And then I actually switched into criminal

defense, and I`ve defended cases against Weld County as well.

And they are a very, very aggressive prosecution office. And so it would not surprise me in the least if they went after the death penalty in this

case, just because of their prosecution philosophy.

BANFIELD: I`m glad you touched on that. We`re going to get to that in this program because there is a whole technical menu that`s coming up in

the next weeks and months ahead that we`re going to lay out for our viewers, so they know exactly where this stands and they don`t have to keep

guessing when are we going to find out the next shoe to drop.

But before I do that, whenever I talk with anybody outside of the studio, it`s a lot more casual and reserved, the conversation, but nonetheless,

everybody is mystified. Not that someone might kill a spouse because we see that a lot, but that he killed, potentially, the children if the

allegations are true.

And then you go back to the Facebook videos, and it is hard to look at those Facebook videos and try to assess whether this family is faking it or

whether this family was this happy and something went terribly wrong. It`s just hard to make sense of it.

Let me show you this moment where the whole family is together doing what we all love to do with our kids, just baking cookies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: Right now, we`re making chocolate chip cookies. We`re going to make sugar cookies.

B. WATTS: Cookies.

S. WATTS: Italian cookies.

CELESTE WATTS: Hi.

C. WATTS: Yes, you guys are making cookies.

Good job, Belle.

B. WATTS: Can I?

S. WATTS: Dump it.

C. WATTS: Whoa, good job.

CELESTE WATTS: Yucky!

C. WATTS: That`s not yucky. All right, we got little bowls.

B. WATTS: All right.

C. WATTS: Good job.

S. WATTS: Wrong bowl.

C. WATTS: Wrong bowl. OK, hold on.

S. WATTS: It`s OK. One more. Put it in the red bowl.

C. WATTS: Right, over here. Right here. Now, hold it.

S. WATTS: Put it in that bowl. The red bowl. Red bowl.

C. WATTS: This one, this one.

S. WATTS: Good girl.

C. WATTS: Good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Did you notice those little shirts? They had the snowmen on them. If you`re wondering if that was a long time ago, it wasn`t. It was

just last December. It was Christmas. They were baking cookies as a family.

So, again, with that prism in mind, when you see this next video, it is again Christmas, and it is also something we all do with our kids. We do

the Christmas scene, if you know what I mean. And in that respect, see if you can see through anything, if you can assess whether someone`s being

fake or whether this really is a typical and happy family. Have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: Santa`s here, but the kids are freaking out.

Santa, you gained some weight this year.

Come on, Santa.

Hold on, Santa, I got to find the kids because they`re kind of scared.

Bella, say, hi, Santa.

C. WATTS: Hello, Bella. How are you?

S. WATTS: Say, I`m good. Say, Merry Christmas, Santa.

C. WATTS: Merry Christmas, Bella.

S. WATTS: Say, Merry Christmas.

Can you go grab it from Santa?

Can you say thank you, Santa? Does he have any other presents for you?

C. WATTS: Did your sister ask for one, too? Is she going to come see me or no?

S. WATTS: Let`s say goodbye to Santa.

B. WATTS: Bye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Now, that`s a really long video. We`ve shown you just sort of a highlight, but what you didn`t see was the typical scene when your kid just

won`t play along. You go to all that trouble to set up Santa and the elf, and your child cries through all of it and throws the present down.

It`s normal. It`s what we`ve all been through. And it`s really, really hard to fake that stuff.

But if you want to know what it looks like when someone`s faking it on camera, I think we`re all pretty clear now that Chris Watts is not very

good at faking it on camera because we have iron-clad proof of him lying on camera, telling us all that his family was missing, and he just wished

they`d come back in and be in that lonely house again.

Now, as police say, he admitted, all the while, they were buried out at the oil field. So if you want to see fake, this is what it looks like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

C. WATTS: I just want them back. I just want them to come back. And if - - if they`re not safe right now, that`s what`s -- that`s what`s tearing me apart. Because if they are safe, they`re coming back. But if they`re not,

this -- this has got to stop. Like, somebody has to come forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: We all had the idea that that was just garbage the night we saw it. We had that instinct. And I can`t imagine that others didn`t have it

too, Jenna, and that prosecutors might not be looking at some of these videos to say, this is when it`s real and this is when it`s fake.

But what happened in the middle? How will they use the hours upon hours upon hours of home video that Shanann posted publicly to bolster their case

against him?

[19:10:03] ELLIS: They`re going to have to establish motive, again, because the jury is going to want to know why, and they`re going to have to

show what was the lie and what was correct and what really was Chris Watts` actual personality that Shanann never saw.

BANFIELD: But you`re also the defense attorney. Couldn`t you say, I`m going to play all of those hours and defend my client by saying, look at

this family man saying grace with his daughters? How could you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, look at that man and suggest he did what you`re

alleging that he did?

ELLIS: Absolutely. And the defense is going to want to show that juxtaposition as well, and they`re going to want to say, look, this was a

great family man. This was not the lie. Clearly, he snapped. Clearly, there was a mental health issue. Clearly, there is some kind of mitigating

evidence to show that he couldn`t have possibly just done this in cold blood.

BANFIELD: These are the images that keep coming back to all of us. We`re steeped in this case. We`re working this case. It`s like another Scott

Peterson. It`s almost all-consuming because there are so much material and mystery that go hand in hand.

But at the same time, we`re finding new clues as well, and I want to put up a picture, if I can, of a -- atop of the oil well at the Anadarko site

where these little girls were dumped and where Shanann was buried.

And I got that circle around the top there because, to the untrained eye, it looks like it might just be camera monitored. We know that these sites

are monitored. How exactly, we`re not clear, but Bobby Chacon is a retired FBI Special Agent.

I`m sure that that picture is not lost on you. And these particular new images of the site where this sort of horrible crime ended, that`s

insightful. Because if there`s video, that will tell a massive story. Those children and that woman, they were buried, likely, after sun-up.

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Yes, that`s true. I mean, but, look, this is his workplace. So conceivably, if

there were cameras up there, he would know about it. But that doesn`t necessarily help him. If, in fact, those cameras were covered the night

these children were dumped into those tanks, then that shows a premeditation or, you know, an attempt to hide himself from being caught on

video.

You know, the loving husband and father snapping and doing this really gets kind of taken out by the fact that he loaded them into his pickup truck,

drove out there, and, you know, individually buried the wife and then each child was put into these tanks.

You know, that`s not something somebody does when they just snap. You know, temporary insanity is temporary. It`s not loading them up. And, you

know, this is all forensic countermeasures to cover up a crime.

This is a consciousness of guilt issue. He knew he was guilty, and he knew he had to hide the evidence for as long as he could. I`m sure he put them

in those tanks, hoping that they would not be found or their bodies would deteriorate to such an effect that they would be no evidence left on them.

So, you know, I don`t see this -- I don`t see the defense of, you know, he was a loving father and he just snapped. If he was that, he would`ve

called 911 and said, oh, my God, something terrible happened. I walked in on my wife harming my children, and then I harmed her out of rage.

And the -- and that 911 call is what we`d be talking about right now. But we`re not. We`re talking about cameras on the top of an oil tank where he

himself has, you know, likely admitted that he put his children`s bodies.

BANFIELD: Yes, but super powerful images if a jury actually sees a man dumping the bodies of his children through manhole covers into an oil tank

or burying his wife after digging a shallow grave. If all of that exists on video, it is a boon for prosecutors because nobody feels the same after

seeing that, and it`s that gut that you go after when you`re a prosecutor.

I want to show one other thing, if I can. When we go back to the scene of those oil tanks -- and this is tricky because so much of this crime we

think we know from the alleged confession. So much of the crime, we don`t know.

But, Joseph Scott Morgan, as a certified death investigator, so many of us have wondered what becomes of these burial sites of these children. We

understand how you would process a shallow grave, but how do you process those oil tanks?

And if indeed both children were in a separate oil tank -- look at them, they`re massive. They`re 20 feet high apiece. Would they actually have to

somehow preserve those tanks in a way, cut into them so that they could scan for every bit of forensic evidence that might be, say, at the bottom

of the tank or suspended in the oil? What do you do with a scene as bizarre as this?

JOSEPH SCOTT MORGAN, DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR OF APPLIED FORENSICS, JACKSONVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY: It`s a massive undertaking. You

essentially have the suspension that these children`s bodies have been resting in for this period of time, Ash. And the idea here is that, you

know, yes, they contain the bodies, but there also might be some other type of evidence that has been tossed down in there.

[19:15:05] I`m not completely buying the fact that these kids were strangled yet because I don`t have any confirmatory evidence. The

autopsy`s not in. I`m still looking for everything as a death investigator.

What would have to happen, in my opinion, and based upon cases I`ve worked that are kind of similar to this, those tanks would have to be drained, and

they would have to pass through some kind of screening process. Every bit of oil would have to come out. And you would examine the interior of the

actual tank and then the remnant that was left behind on the screens. It`s a very, very overwhelming task.

BANFIELD: Joe, can I just ask you one quick question about the gravesite of Shanann Watts.

MORGAN: Yes.

BANFIELD: Isn`t it critical to know -- and I know this may sound strange, but there`s a method to this question. Isn`t it critical to know whether

Shanann Watts was buried with her beautiful wedding ring and engagement ring? Because they`re valuable and this family was known to have some

difficulties in finances.

In many of the pictures that we`ve seen, you can see Shanann`s ring. I think in some of the pictures, you know, that we`re going to show you.

It`s a beautiful ring, and it would be valuable. And Chris Watts, of anybody, would know that if he is --

MORGAN: Yes.

BANFIELD: -- disposing of his wife the way the police say he confessed to disposing of her. Would it be critical to know if that ring was found in

that shallow grave with her?

MORGAN: Yes. Yes, it would be, Ash. And one of the things that I want to drive home, the point I want to drive home and something I teach my

students at university, is this -- negative findings are just as important as positive findings in forensics.

So if there`s an absence of an item like rings, that would put us on to another trail, now, wouldn`t it? If he didn`t have time to take the rings

off and it was a frenzied event, which has been intimated at some point along the way, that`s significant as well. So, yes, it does have some

weight to it.

BANFIELD: Yes, that and the clothing. Was she in her pajamas?

MORGAN: Yes, yes.

BANFIELD: Because that would seem to match the narrative of what Chris is alleged to have confessed. Hold that thought for a moment. I want to say

three words, three really critical words in this case -- cause of death.

We don`t have it, but the M.E. is finished with the autopsy. Those bodies have been buried. And typically, we find out by now what the cause of

death is. Sometimes we never find out.

Is that the case in the Watts murders? Why is that so critical? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:22:30] BANFIELD: In any murder case, cause of death is key. And cases can be won or lost if the cause of death isn`t found, which is why it is

very curious that the medical examiner released the bodies of Shanann Watts and her children for burial this past weekend but have not released their

cause of death.

We understand toxicology can take many weeks. But, again, the autopsies are over and still, the question remains unanswered. How did Shanann,

Bella, and Cece Watts really die? And could they even find the answer?

Kenya Johnson, as a defense attorney, my feeling is that this is something that is critical for Chris Watts because, as I just said, cases can be won

or lost based on cause of death not being determined. Do you see this as potential in this case?

KENYA JOHNSON, CHIEF DEPUTY SOLICITOR GENERAL, FULTON COUNTY, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I see that the autopsy results are certainly -- would have been

made available to the prosecution so that they could determine the charges that they would issue to Mr. Watts. And so for some reason, the

prosecution is holding some of this information back and has not been made public.

BANFIELD: You know what? I`ll tell you what, Kenya, I will go on record right now as to having had a conversation with the D.A.`s Office today, a

long -- over an hour conversation with the D.A.`s Office.

They are very good at their jobs. They are telling me very little in an hour-long conversation, but they did tell me this. The M.E. has not sent

that over to them yet. They are not in possession of that actual autopsy result. They don`t know it, so I found that amazing.

JOHNSON: That should be amazing because that means that the prosecution doesn`t have all the information, but they`re proceeding forward with

charges. And so we`d have to take a look and see what evidence is currently available to support the charges that he has now and then what

additional charges may come out once the autopsy results come out. Because there could be more.

BANFIELD: And, Joe Morgan, you want to jump in on this with cause of death being critical. I think you would know very well the conditions of these

bodies and whether it is going to be possible to determine cause of death here.

MORGAN: Yes. I truly believe that it would be, Ash, particularly if you`re talking about a manual or ligature strangulation. It would be

rather obvious, I would think.

Keep in mind, I was a senior investigator with the M.E. in Atlanta and before that, I worked at the Jefferson Parish Coroner`s Office in New

Orleans, so I`m kind of familiar with this territory. Many times -- many times -- the medical-legal authorities will hold off releasing information

because they`re coordinating with the police. Many times.

[19:25:02] Keep in mind, the M.E. is in charge of the body. And they will state a cause of death sooner or later, but this is an ongoing homicide

case. And many times, the police will just simply ask, will you please lay back, hold off. We`re going to wait for all of the testing to come in.

BANFIELD: Yes.

MORGAN: So, yes, they might still be waiting on tox. They might be waiting on histology. That is the study of the tissues. But, yes, it

would seem that they could have offered up at least a preliminary cause of death.

BANFIELD: OK. I want to bring in Ari Zoldan. He is a technology analyst and chairman of Quantum Media Group.

And, Ari, your expertise is key here because all of these forensic pieces of the puzzle will be critical, but so will the technical forensics like

Chris Watts` cell phone, Shanann Watts` cell phone.

There`s been myriad reports about Chris Watts having extramarital affairs. "People" Magazine has an inside source saying that he had many different

lovers, both men and women. We ourselves have interviewed someone of this ilk. And so his phone has got to be a gold mine.

Do you see it as presenting a problem at any point in terms of finding dating apps that maybe have been erased or text messages that maybe have

been erased? Can you find all the caches of this stuff?

ARI ZOLDAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, QUANTUM MEDIA GROUP: Ashleigh, I think 98 percent of that stuff is going to be there, either in the hardware

or the software. And when I`m talking about software, I`m talking about -- your phone over here, Ashleigh, is living and breathing, right? And it`s

constantly communicating with the cell networks.

And that cell network holds back the information, so it could tell you the location. It could tell you the perimeters --

BANFIELD: So if he held his phone as he was on his way, allegedly, to the place where he dumped the bodies, if he stopped off along the way and

dispensed of any evidence, that will be -- there will be a nice little digital map.

ZOLDAN: There are some breadcrumbs there. And again, it`s not an exact science because it`s a relatively complicated ecosystem, but there`s data

there. And I think that there are some really good data that the forensics can go on those.

BANFIELD: What about erasing? Do you have to be extremely skilled to erase, say, a dating app?

ZOLDAN: You could erase it off your phone, but your location -- you can`t erase your location because the cell networks have your location.

BANFIELD: Can police -- are they skilled enough or FBI, are they skilled enough, to recover anything that`s been ostensibly wiped?

ZOLDAN: They can, but, again, it`s an exhaustive process to do. But it is certainly, we talked about, you know, possible. It certainly is possible

to do that. I think the location is going to be really, really key, and working with the telecom carriers to be able to get the location.

BANFIELD: So I want to just go over some of the technical -- and I think, Jenna, you know, since -- again, what a boon that you worked in the Weld

County Prosecutors` Office. There is a technical map, effectively. And as I said, I had this very long conversation today with the D.A.`s Office.

I was under the impression that Chris Watts has already been arraigned. He has not. So there`s some breaking news for you. Everybody who`s written

in news reports for these last couple of weeks that he went through his arraignment, he has not been arraigned yet.

In fact, he was advised of his formal charges, and then he`s got a status hearing coming up on November 19th. If you`re wondering if we`re going to

find out about the death penalty then, not a chance. We are months and months away.

The 63 days that the D.A. mentioned that, you know, kicks in after arraignment as to when they have to declare whether they`re seeking the

death penalty or not, that could be well after the November 19th preliminary. Because then they`re going to schedule an arraignment,

correct?

ELLIS: Right. And so Colorado law is very interesting in the criminal process because you have just what was called filing of charges which

actually just is at the clerk`s office. And so that was a formal reading of charges, but that was only needing to be filed by the D.A.`s Office and

not an arraignment.

BANFIELD: Not an arraignment, not an indictment, right.

ELLIS: Because then you have speedy trial that will kick in and move the - -

BANFIELD: Yes. The clock starts.

ELLIS: And the clock starts.

BANFIELD: Yes.

ELLIS: So arraignments can happen even months after the fact because then, at that point, negotiations usually have broken down. There won`t be a

plea, and so it`s just a matter of pleading guilty or not guilty. And at that point, if there`s an arraignment, usually, we`re set for trial.

BANFIELD: Well, as all the technical is being put in place by the people in suits and the man in orange, there`s a lot of purple in this story as

well. And what we found out today was heart -- you know, heart-rending, I got to be honest.

The town of Frederick -- I spoke with one of the city officials in Frederick today about how the town is sort of coping with what has befallen

them. And there`s a picture of a town hall with purple ribbons, and there are more than 400 of these purple ribbons that have been distributed all

throughout this town.

The town itself assisted Shanann Watts` friends and her neighbors in tying these purple ribbons all around town. They offered all of these ribbons to

anybody who wanted to come out and pay tribute, be there to support them. You know, they said themselves this was a healing process for all of them.

[19:29:57] People in town were understandably devastated. I think one of the most difficult concepts to process was that they wanted to pay tribute

and pay support, but there`s no one in Frederick to support. The whole family`s dead. You know, Chris Watts is in prison or is in jail, awaiting

trial, but you know, Shannan`s family lives in North Carolina. They`re not in Frederick. So, really these ribbons are just for the people and their

sorrow, but more than 400 of these were tied up around the town, and I think that`s very heart rending. And then, as if to even sort of tell you

the nature of this town, the police, you know, in Frederick are taking the lead on this investigation. They are the agency leading this

investigation, right? And all the while, the police chief is in mourning as well, because it`s a small town. And this is what he did for this town.

Well, we`re all wondering what they`re doing, this is what the police chief did for his town. He wrote an open letter to the town. I`m going read a

little bit of it for you. This is from Police Chief Todd Norris. He said, "Over the past few days, the men and women of the Frederick Police

Department, as well as the entire community of Frederick, have endured an emotional roller coaster as you may expect with such a tragedy hitting our

community." He goes on to say, "I`ve been working for the town for the past 26 years, and the overwhelming support we`ve received from this

community is unprecedented. As your chief, I`m honored to be involved in a community such as ours. Thank you again for all of your support and keep

Shannan, Bella, and Celeste in your thoughts, your hearts, and in your prayers."

My God, Jenna, isn`t this the community where we have to pick a jury?

JENNA ELLIS, CONTRIBUTOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: It is, and -- but what`s interesting is that it will come from Weld County, and Weld County in

Colorado is a very large county. And so, the town of Frederick is really, really small, and this particular agency I`ve dealt with as a prosecutor as

well as a defense attorney and they do take this very, very seriously and personal. But as far as the jury is concerned, there`s actually something

that is called getting a large veneer from all of Weld County, and so the jury will only have to come from Weld County, not specifically from the

town of Frederick. And if I`m the defense attorney, and you have most of the people coming from Frederick, I`m going to object to that.

BANFIELD: Sure.

ELLIS: And say, no, we need to get a wider (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: Although, I mean -- listen, I got to say, people in Australia are watching this story, so I dare say everybody around Weld County is

personally touched by this. No matter how big the county but they picked a jury in Casey Anthony. They had to go to another county to do it but they

-- you picked the jury in O.J. You can always pick a jury. You can always find, and it takes a little work sometimes, but you can do it.

In the meantime, Chris Watts himself, not watching us tonight, because he doesn`t have T.V. in his jail cell. He only gets newspapers once a day for

an hour, sitting outside in the hour out room where he gets to sit. And I`m wondering how much he ponders his fate while he`s sitting in that room.

And then, I wonder if he`s pondering that big question, are they going to try to kill me? Is there going to be a trial, and will it be death

penalty? More on that next.

[19:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: It`s been almost a decade since Colorado won a death penalty case, and more than two decades since they actually went through with it.

But it`s been years and they have not had a crime like the Watts family murders. And if the death penalty is indeed reserved for the worst of the

worst, it is quite possible the prosecutors may seek the death penalty in the case against Chris Watts. After all, the accusations against him don`t

get much worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three counts of murder in the first degree after deliberation. One count naming Shannan Watts, one count naming Bella, one

count naming Celeste. Each of those is a Class 1 felony. We also filed two counts of first-degree murder of a child under the age of 12 by a

person in the position of trust. Obviously, you can tell based upon the elements of those and the description that those counts name Bella and

Celeste as victims. Those are both also Class 1 felonies. We filed one count of unlawful tampering -- excuse me, unlawful termination of a

pregnancy in the first-degree, which is a Class 2 felony as a result of Shannan being pregnant at the time of her death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: It is so sad to see these three grave sites. Four plaques, one for the unborn child along with his mom and the two little girls on either

side. They were buried on Saturday after a memorial service in which hundreds attended.

Jenna Ellis is with me, not just an attorney, not just a radio host, not just a Washington Examiner Contributor, but also formerly with the Weld

County District Attorney`s Office. So, she knows a thing or two about how these prosecutors work.

[19:40:07] One of the breaks that People Magazine had today dove tails on some of our reporting yesterday, which was that the -- it was a woman at

work with whom he was having an affair. We`ve confirmed it was a woman. That she has met with investigators, that she was cooperating and answering

their questions. People Magazine goes on further to say their sources tell them that she is not suspected of any wrong doing. How does this factor

into the case against Chris Watts, the death penalty potential?

ELLIS: Well, he is charged with three counts of murder after deliberation, and so if she can help the prosecutors make the case and really become

their star witness to say Chris promised that he was going to leave his wife. Chris was more fit now because --

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: Describe the deliberation, really? Is that it?

ELLIS: And just to give a motive and a reason that prosecutors don`t have, that could really bolster their case to show why it was after deliberation

and to undermine his story that there`s really no mitigation here.

BANFIELD: You know, does it make any difference that the family had financial issues? In fact, we talked a lot about the financial issues but

not until recently did I know how precipitous the drop in their income was. Jenna, take a look at this. Not sure if you`ve actually seen it laid out

like this before, but the Watts family income in 2013 was $147,250. Look what happened the next year. It dropped to $90,789. But the Watts family

bank account, the following year, in 2015, they had three. One had little over $850. The other had a little over $3.50. And another one had $6.

So, does motive, does money, does love, does deception, does any of that play into whether death penalty is on the table, or is it just strictly by

the book? Are there aggravators? Was it heinous, atrocious, and cruel?

ELLIS: I mean, all of these things will play into the prosecutor`s decision. But even more than what they determine to advance to the jury as

their case for motive. What is going to be even more important in the state of Colorado in particular, is the fact that you have to be death

panel certified as a jury.

BANFIELD: That`s everywhere, isn`t it?

ELLIS: And if you go for --

BANFIELD: I mean, you have to certify all jurors to get qualified.

ELLIS: Right, and what -- if you go for the death penalty. So, what that means, then, Ashleigh, is that every juror has to be willing to say, yes, I

would impose the death penalty. The studies have shown that those jurors are actually more prosecution leaning, so even if they don`t ultimately

advance the death penalty, they are more likely to render a guilty verdict.

BANFIELD: Does it make any difference about a will -- but first of all, do you know anything at all in your reporting of the story as to whether this

poor woman, Shannan, had a will?

ELLIS: I don`t, but what`s in Colorado that -- is joint right of survivorship. And so, what that means is if Shannan did not have a living

will, and she and her husband were lawfully married and they have that marriage license, that`s valid in the state of Colorado, typically, what

happens is that he would inherit.

BANFIELD: Regardless?

ELLIS: Regardless.

BANFIELD: So, he could be facing the death penalty or life in prison, no parole, and have her money.

ELLIS: Well, under Colorado law, he would be the heir apparent because of joint right of survivorship.

BANFIELD: Even as a felon, if he is (INAUDIBLE)

ELLIS: But not -- but not necessarily after he`s convicted. That becomes a different question. But he may not have known that.

BANFIELD: Thank you. You had me very worried for a moment that a felon could sit there and have an endless commissary account. All right, and

like I said, he is innocent until proven guilty. He is not a felon at this point. But it is leaning towards a pretty tough case against him, that`s

for sure. One of the fascinating layers to the story is how it is grabbing attention online. Discussions and theories and questions have fired across

Facebook like lightning. Twitter and Reddit are alive with this story.

Coming up next, we`re going to address some of the questions from viewers who have been sharing a lot of these thoughts online. That`s next.

[19:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: The perplexing mystery of the Watts murders invokes memories of stories that dominated the headlines. Scott Peterson, Jodi Arias, but

social media was just finding its footing back then. Now, it`s taking over some people`s lives. Take, for instance, the Facebook pages dedicated to

discussions of the case against Chris Watts. There are about 40,000 people who are members of these pages and fascination with this case spans all the

way to Canada, Australia, Ireland.

Tonight, we thought we would share with you some of the questions that people have about this crime. First and foremost, though, to Ari Zoldan,

upwards of 40,000 people on Facebook pages. The metrics, does that sound out of line for you?

ARI ZOLDAN, TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: It`s a lot, it`s really significant, Ashleigh. I mean, it`s definitely -- it`s not a typical situation. People

are feeling very connected, for better or worse about it, and they have an opinion. So, they go to social media, and that`s where they get to express

themselves.

[19:49:54] BANFIELD: A lot of people on social media. A lot. Let me start with a question from Laura Willis and I think she`s Laura Willis

Albrigo. Pardon if I mispronounced your name. Laura asks, I wonder -- I often wonder if the attorneys would ever offer a plea deal where he would

be required to tell the full honest and true story of his motive, and exactly what really happened, and in return, they would take the death

penalty off the table. Does that happen, Jenna? Do they have to -- do they bargain that way or do they just say, say you`re guilty and let`s shut

this process down and off you go into your cell forever.

ELLIS: Well, in terms of an allocution hearing which is basically a confession at the time of the plea agreement, defendants at least in the

State of Colorado can typically decide for themselves whether or not they want to make a statement at trial, but whether or not the prosecution wants

to make that an element of the negotiations, and that`s possible.

BANFIELD: So, there is this moment of the pregnancy when she announces the pregnancy and surprises Chris with the, oops, I did it again t-shirt and

the -- and the pregnancy stick, and then, watch his reaction because Miranda West is going to have a question about that right after. Take a

look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WATTS, MURDER SUSPECT: We did it again.

(LAUGHTER)

C. WATTS: So pink means?

SHANNAN WATTS, MURDER VICTIM: That`s just the test.

C. WATTS: I know. I just think the pink is going to be girls?

S. WATTS: I don`t know.

C. WATTS: Guess when you want to, it happens. Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: The wow takes on a whole lot of meanings now. Miranda asks, "If you watch the video of him finding out that she`s pregnant, it really does

seem like he was shocked. Like maybe they weren`t trying. Wonder if he didn`t want the baby, and that`s what made him finally snap." Bobby

Chacon, as a retired FBI special agent, do you read anything into the signals that are given in that particular video? That`s a big moment in

someone`s life, you`re about to have a third child.

BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Yes, I don`t weed anything. He looked like a guy -- he might have been surprised by it. He didn`t seem

particularly dispassionate about it. He seemed to have a reaction, people react to these things differently, you know, so I didn`t weed anything into

that. I mean, to snap for -- to do what he`s accused of doing I would think would take a little more than just this, and it might have been a

cumulative effect of the financial stress, the affairs he was having, and this. You know, I think that -- I tend to think that this -- there`s a

more of a cumulative effect. I don`t see anything in this video, to me, as an investigator that tips me off, you know, one way or another.

BANFIELD: So Mary Ann asked this question, "Has anyone considered domestic violence, either emotional or physical. His reaction to the pregnancy news

was unusual in the words he spoke. Did she gush about how wonderful he was in the hopes of saving a marriage or stopping possible violence?"

I can show you this, there`s a piece of a video whereby she`s gushing over how much she loves Chris Watts, and he`s in the room and then she stands up

and I think we might be able to show some of the video of it. She stands up and she walks outside and she closes the door and she continues to gush

without him able to hear any of it. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. WATTS: If the community of people we surround ourselves with -- like, I`ve -- it`s going to be 80 degrees today. I was in a really, really,

really bad place, and I`ve got a friend request from Chris on Facebook. He`s the best thing that has ever happened to me, and because of my health

challenges, because I got so sick, I let him in and he only knew me at that time, he knew me at my worst, and he accepted me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: And he couldn`t hear any of that gushing. It makes you think a lot, doesn`t it? Thank you so much for your questions, Laura, Miranda, and

Mary Ann. Coming up next, the tearful goodbye to this family.

[19:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: The Reverend John Forbes in Pinehurst, North Carolina reading the tribute words of Shannan Watt`s father to the congregation as they

buried Shannan, her unborn boy, and her two baby girls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JOHN FORBES: Dear Shan, I have so much to say but I will make it short. Daddy loves you. You are a wonderful daughter and a great mother.

You are nothing but pure love, always caring for everyone. You will always be daddy`s little girl. Until we meet again, I love you with all my heart.

Dear Bella and Celeste and Nico, you will always be papop`s little girls and precious grandson. You make my day filled with smiles even when I feel

bad or sad. Bella, you will always be my silver bells. Celeste, papop will take care of your truck. Throwing kisses and hugs to all of you. See

you later, love you always, your papop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: We`ll see right back here tomorrow night at 6:00 Eastern. Thanks for watching, everyone. "FORENSIC FILES" begins right now.

END