Watts initially reported his wife Shanann, 34, and daughters Bella, 3, and Celeste, 4, missing in August. He appealed for their return on television but was quickly arrested by Colorado law enforcement in connection with their disappearance. Their bodies were found in an oil field — Shanann's in a grave and the girls' in an oil tank — where Watts was employed.
Watts initially told police that Shanann had killed the children after he admitted to an affair, and that he'd then strangled her in a rage. On Tuesday he admitted that he was the one who had strangled his wife and young daughters. As part of his plea deal, Watts is expected to reveal a "partial motive" for his actions. Previously sealed autopsy reports will also likely be made public following his sentencing.
Watts reportedly resisted the guilty plea, but relented when faced with the overwhelming physical evidence against him. If convicted, he would have faced a maximum penalty of execution. In exchange for pleading guilty to nine counts including first-degree murder, Watts will serve life without parole. He is scheduled to be officially sentenced on November 19.