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Colorado man charged with murder says wife killed daughters

Colorado man charged with murder says wife killed daughters

A Colorado man told police that he killed his pregnant wife in 'a rage' when he discovered she had strangled their two daughters after he sought a separation, according to an arrest affidavit released on Monday. Colorado prosecutors, though, filed formal charges earlier in the day, accusing the former oil and gas worker of murdering his entire family days before he was interviewed by local television stations and pleaded for his missing family's safe return home. Christopher Watts, who is being held without bail, is due back in court on Tuesday morning to be advised of the charges filed against him. District Attorney Michael Rourke declined to answer most questions about the case Monday but said his office has three prosecutors assigned to it. Rourke also said it was too early to discuss whether he will seek the death penalty. Under state law, the top punishment for homicide is the death penalty or life in prison. The arrest affidavit was sealed at prosecutors' request until Monday, a frequent request in Colorado as prosecutors determine what charges to file after someone has been arrested. After filing charges, prosecutors asked a judge on Monday to unseal it — revealing Watts' confession that he had killed his wife and his accusation that she was responsible for the deaths of 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. The document also says police confirmed that Christopher Watts was having an affair with a co-worker, something he denied in earlier conversations with investigators. According to the affidavit, early on the morning of Aug. 13 Christopher Watts told his wife that he wanted to separate. She had returned from a business trip a few hours before their conversation. Watts told police that he walked downstairs, leaving his wife in their bedroom. When he returned, Watts said he checked a baby monitor on Shanann's nightstand and saw his wife strangling their youngest daughter. He said the monitor also showed their oldest daughter sprawled on her bed, looking blue. Watts, 33, said he then 'went into a rage' and strangled his wife. He told police that he loaded all three bodies into his work truck, and then he buried his wife at an oil work site and dumped the bodies of Bella and Celeste inside oil tanks. Autopsies have been completed but not released. A judge on Friday denied a request by defense lawyer James Merson to require the coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the children. Watts faces three first-degree murder charges, two counts of murdering a child, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. The charges come a week after a friend reported Shanann Watts, 34, and the girls missing. Before his arrest last week, Christopher Watts lamented in interviews with local television stations about missing his wife and daughters. He spoke in front of their home in Frederick, a small town on the grassy plains north of Denver where fast-growing subdivisions intermingle with drilling rigs and oil wells. Police spoke with Watts several times before he was arrested late on Wednesday, according to the affidavit. It says Watts initially told police that his conversation with Shanann about a separation was civil but emotional. Watts later told police that both he and his wife were 'upset and crying' and Shanann told him she was going to a friend's house that day. The bodies were found on property owned by Anadarko Petroleum, one of Colorado's largest oil and gas drillers, where Watts had worked as an operator. He was fired on Wednesday. Court documents filed by Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days. The affidavit says Watts gave police an aerial photograph of the area and identified three areas where he placed the bodies. Investigators used a drone to search the area and spotted a bed sheet that matched other linens found in the family home, along with fresh dirt. Family and friends have said they were shocked by the slayings, saying the family seemed happy and Christopher Watts appeared to be a good father. The social media accounts for Shanann Watts, who was from North Carolina, are filled with photos of the family smiling and playing and posts praising her husband and expressing excitement about the couple expecting their third child. A June 2015 bankruptcy filing showed that the family was dealing with financial strain, including tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, student loans and medical bills totaling $70,000 in unsecured claims along with a sizable mortgage. ___ Associated Press writer James Anderson contributed to this report.

Girl, 15, says police officer sexually assaulted her for hours; GBI investigating

Girl, 15, says police officer sexually assaulted her for hours; GBI investigating

A local police officer is under investigation after a 15-year-old girl accused him of sexual assault. The girl’s mother told Channel 2 Action News that her daughter was terrified and eventually told her about the incident. “She just broke down and was crying,” the girl’s mother told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne . The family's lawyer, Thomas Reynolds, told Channel 2 Action News that he believes the 15-year-old, another girl and two boys may have been followed from a Waffle House by the officer.  TRENDING STORIES: Alligator attacks, kills woman walking her dog on Hilton Head Island Police release photos of people wanted in shooting at GSU Body of missing 24-year-old kayaker recovered in lake The four people stopped at Sykes Park, and that's when he said the officer approached the group. Reynolds said the officer let three people go, but not the alleged victim. Reynolds said the girl was detained for violating curfew. At that point, Reynolds said, the officer took the girl to the Village of Highlands apartment complex and sexually assaulted her. Reynolds said the officer kept the girl for three hours before bringing her home to her apartment. East Point Police Chief Tommy Gardner told Channel 2 Action News that his department received a complaint of sexual misconduct against one of its officers, and that officer was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay. The GBI was called to conduct the investigation.

Critics speak out against plan to consolidate polling places in Randolph County

Critics speak out against plan to consolidate polling places in Randolph County

A proposal to close seven of nine polling places in one Southwest Georgia county is drawing harsh criticism as some opponents call it an attempt at voter suppression. Randolph County hired Mike Malone as an elections consultant after its elections supervisor left.  After studying the county, Malone made the proposal to close seven of nine precincts, saying the county was wasting taxpayer money by keeping nine polling places open for only about 4,000 voters.   One precinct, he said, had only 12 voters during the last election.   Malone also said the seven polling places he advises closing are in violation of federal law because they are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He denied the plan had anything to do with voter suppression. TRENDING STORIES: Alligator attacks, kills woman walking her dog on Hilton Head Island Police release photos of people wanted in shooting at GSU Body of missing 24-year-old kayaker recovered in lake “That is the absolute farthest thing from the facts that there is,” Malone said to a meeting of voters. But members of the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta disagree. At a news conference Monday, their members called on the county to reject that proposal as an attempt to keep African-American voters away from the polls. “Randolph County is predominantly black,” said CBC President Randall Jackson. “If they succeed in this effort, it will nullify and make almost impossible thousands of blacks. Many of those who are senior citizens who would have to walk miles to get to their polling places.” Randolph County resident Bobbie White said she was all for saving the county money, but wanted to make sure elderly voters could still get to the polls. “It can be good for the economy saving that way,” White said. “But it’s going to be rough on the few places that have the few people that don’t have a way to get to the voting places.  Are they going to provide something to get them to the voting places?' Marshell Jones works on the square in Cuthbert. She doesn’t like the proposal at all. “It’s a plan that doesn’t take into account the impact on the community,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t say it’s discrimination, but in a way it is, because older people can’t get to the polls.' Georgia Secretary of State’s Office said it does not have authority over the Randolph County Elections Board, but “staunchly opposed” the proposal.   Both GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams both stated they oppose the proposal, too.  

For the first time in two years, Jamie Dupree has returned to radio. You can also subscribe to get Washington Insider Jamie Dupree’s take on what’s happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday.
For the first time in two years, Jamie Dupree has returned to radio. You can also subscribe to get Washington Insider Jamie Dupree’s take on what’s happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday.
For the first time in two years, Jamie Dupree has returned to radio. You can also subscribe to get Washington Insider Jamie Dupree’s take on what’s happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday.
For the first time in two years, Jamie Dupree has returned to radio. You can also subscribe to get Washington Insider Jamie Dupree’s take on what’s happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday.
From the mailbag – Why do you say “Mr. Trump?”

In my almost thirty five years as a reporter, there are a couple of questions that seem to regularly pop up from listeners, viewers, and readers, and one of them is how the President of the United States is referred to in the press on a second or third reference in a story. And over the years, it’s been a bipartisan accusation that I am being disrespectful to the President.

So, let me try to explain, spurred by a recent Direct Message that I received on Twitter.

“Recently, on several occasions, you referred to President Trump as “Mr. Trump.” Is there a [More]