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Entertainment News

  • It may have been a lousy night for Madonna at the MTV Video Music Awards, but the event offered some glimmers of hope for the network. The Nielsen company estimated that 5.23 million watched Monday's annual tribute to what's current in popular music across several Viacom-owned networks. While that's down from the 5.68 million who watched last year, the network appears to have slowed the show's rapid decline over the past years while showing increases in digital engagement. MTV estimated that there had been some 141.6 million video streams of content related to the awards show for the past month — including Monday night — up from 76 million a year ago. MTV said it doesn't have an estimate of how many people streamed Monday's entire show through the network's app. Those numbers hold a greater importance for the younger viewers that MTV seeks, considering how many people experience 'television' now on their devices. Among viewers aged 18 to 34, MTV topped all other cable and broadcast numbers for the period of time that the VMAs were on, Nielsen said. Television ratings for the awards show have been shrinking rapidly in recent years. In 2015, for example, 9.8 million watched on television. In 2011, when Katy Perry was the big winner, the show had a record viewership of 12.4 million people. MTV moved the event from Sunday to Monday this year, which is generally a better night for the network, and closer to the middle of August so there would be less competition. The show had its moments, including a glittery Jennifer Lopez medley. Madonna received a harsh reaction for telling a story about the late Aretha Franklin that had more to do with her than the late Queen of Soul. The event as a whole, however, was lacking in star power, with Drake, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Beyonce, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar among the missing. If MTV can prove that it has arrested the event's decline, it may make stars more willing to show up in the future. With a double shot of its most popular show, 'America's Got Talent,' NBC won the week in prime-time, averaging 4.4 million viewers. CBS had 3.6 million viewers, ABC had 3.2 million, Fox had 1.6 mullion, ION Television had 1.4 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million, Univision had 1.1 million and the CW had 800,000. Viewers continue to find other things to do. Prime-time ratings for the four biggest networks were down by 13 percent compared to the same week last year. Two of the three cable news networks had better ratings than the Fox network. Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.24 million viewers in prime time, MSNBC had 1.78 million viewers, HGTV had 1.35 million, USA had 1.34 million and ESPN had 1.26 million. ABC's 'World News Tonight' led the evening newscasts with an average of 8 million viewers. NBC's 'Nightly News' was second with 7.4 million viewers and the 'CBS Evening News' had 5.6 million. For the week of Aug. 13-19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: 'America's Got Talent' (Tuesday), NBC, 11.14 million; 'America's Got Talent' (Wednesday), NBC, 9.86 million; '60 Minutes,' CBS, 6.29 million; 'Big Brother' (Wednesday), CBS, 5.83 million; 'Big Brother' (Sunday), CBS, 5.8 million; 'Big Brother' (Thursday), CBS, 5.73 million; 'The Big Bang Theory,' CBS, 5.51 million; 'NCIS,' CBS, 5.4 million; 'World of Dance,' NBC, 5.13 million; 'American Ninja Warrior,' NBC, 5.08 million. ___ ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. ___ Online: http://www.nielsen.com
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied a motion from rapper Meek Mill to remove a Philadelphia judge from his case after she denied his request for a new trial. The court said Tuesday Mill's attorneys must go through the regular process of appealing Judge Genece Brinkley's decision, despite their argument she'd been biased. Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has asked that his decade-old drug and gun convictions be thrown out because of credibility issues with the officer who testified against him. His lawyers noted several other convictions involving the same officer have been thrown out by a different judge and the district attorney's office supported the request. Mill's attorneys say they will now ask the state Superior Court to hear their appeal. An attorney for Brinkley says the denial is 'absolutely no surprise.
  • Barbara Harris, the Tony Award-winning actress whose comic-neurotic charms lit up the Broadway stage and helped her steal films including 'Nashville,' ''Freaky Friday' and 'A Thousand Clowns,' has died. She was 83. Harris died early Tuesday of lung cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona, said close friend Charna Halpern, who co-founded the iO Theater in Chicago and had known Harris for decades. Harris played the mother who switched bodies with Jodie Foster in the original 'Freaky Friday' in 1976, the same year she starred in Alfred Hitchcock's final film, 'Family Plot.' But it was Robert Altman's 1975 'Nashville' that would become her best-known film with her memorable performance of 'It Don't Worry Me' in front of a shell-shocked crowd after the violent climax. Harris had been in hospice care and remained restless and hilarious until the end, Halpern said. 'What am I supposed to do, just wait here and die?' Halpern remembered Harris telling one of the hospice nurses at one point. 'She was just so funny and warm, in everything she did.' She was one of the performers in the historic first cast of Chicago's Second City improvisational theater, which opened its doors in late 1959. Over a half-century it has become the proving ground for dozens of now-famous actors and comedians, from Alan Arkin and John Belushi to Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. 'The improvisations were the thing,' Harris told the Los Angeles Times. 'It gave you a chance to try. If you died, you really died, but it was a great way to learn.' She made her screen debut in 1965 with 'A Thousand Clowns,' then got back-to-back Tony nominations in 1966 and 1967 for two hit Broadway musicals, 'On a Clear Day You Can See Forever' and 'The Apple Tree.' She took home the Tony for 'The Apple Tree,' which was directed by Mike Nichols and also starred Alan Alda. Harris also racked up an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress in the 1971 film 'Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?' It featured Harris in a memorable bit about a struggling actress who meets up with the main character, a successful but angst-ridden songwriter played by Dustin Hoffman. While appearing in occasional regional theater productions, she concentrated mostly on film in the 1970s and '80s, when she appeared in the landmark productions of 'Nashville' and 'Family Plot.' She played Kathleen Turner's mother in 'Peggy Sue Got Married' in 1986 and had a small role in the 1997 John Cusack film 'Grosse Point Blank.' Born in 1935 in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Harris was a veteran of two Second City predecessor groups, Playwrights Theatre Club — which she joined while still in high school — and the Compass Players, which was created amid the intellectual atmosphere of the University of Chicago. Her Compass compatriots included Ed Asner, who was among the actors and critics celebrating Harris on Tuesday. 'Goodnight sweet lady,' Asner wrote on Twitter. 'You were a force.' While still with the Second City, Harris helped bring the troupe and its intellectual humor to national attention with out of town appearances in Los Angeles and, shortly thereafter, on Broadway in 1961 in a show titled 'From the Second City.' In 1965's 'A Thousand Clowns,' she played an uptight social worker investigating the welfare of an adolescent boy being raised by his non-conformist uncle (Jason Robards) in a decidedly unorthodox way. In classic '60s fashion, the plot hinges on the tensions between traditional society and those who question its norms. And, of course, the social worker falls in love with the uncle. 'I'm still not sure what the girl I play here is really like,' Harris told The New York Times in 1964. 'These scenes we're doing now, where she's a repressed social worker — that's easy. But later, when she cuts loose — well, I haven't quite figured it out yet. I'm working the character out as I go along.' In 1975 she thrived in 'Nashville,' Robert Altman's kaleidoscopic tale of the country music business. 'Altman is attracted to the actor who takes chances, because that's precisely what he does as a director,' she told Los Angeles Times. 'He has such daring. I'd rather see an Altman failure any day of the week than a safe, polished production where all the pieces fall perfectly into place. With Altman, there's always the possibility that he'll get into an area of genius.' Harris played a pathetic wannabe on the periphery of the action who in the end proves to be a truly good singer, attempting to calm a crowd that has just witnessed the on-stage shooting of a star. 'At that, and in laddered tights, she just about makes off with the film,' the LA Times wrote, 'adding another to her list of unforgettable presences.' Harris had no surviving family.
  • The Latest on a small jet that blew two tires while taking off (all times local): 5:55 p.m. Fans of rapper Post Malone say they drove to an upstate New York airport as soon as they heard his private jet had blown two tires on takeoff from a small New Jersey airport and would be making an emergency landing there. Teenager Dom Henry says he was 'praying' for the rapper's safety and was hoping to see him. Anthony DeStefano and his nephew watched the jet from a nearby hill. DeStefano says he saw the plane descend and it appeared to be a normal landing. He says the landing was a 'great job by the pilot.' The jet had been headed to England and initially was diverted to Massachusetts. When it landed Post Malone thanked fans who prayed for him and dissed those who 'wished death' on him on Twitter while he was in the air. ___ 4:30 p.m. Rapper Post Malone is thanking fans for their prayers now that his private jet that blew two tires taking off from a small New Jersey airport has landed safely in New York. In a tweet after the landing, he also disses those who 'wished death' on him while he was in the air. The Gulfstream IV landed Tuesday at New York Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of New York City. Emergency responders were ready by the runway, and fans who had gathered clapped and cheered as the plane landed safely. The jet was headed to London Luton Airport in Luton, England, from Teterboro Airport when the pilot realized after takeoff early Tuesday that the tires had blown. It initially was diverted to Massachusetts. Post Malone is set to perform at the Reading and Leeds Festival in England over the weekend. ___ 3:55 p.m. A private jet that blew two tires during takeoff at a small New Jersey airport has landed safely at an airport in New York. The Gulfstream IV landed Tuesday at New York Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of New York City. Emergency responders were ready by the runway. The jet was headed to London Luton Airport in Luton, England, from Teterboro Airport when the pilot realized after takeoff early Tuesday that the tires had blown. He circled the airport for about 30 minutes before the jet was diverted. The Federal Aviation Administration says the plane had 16 people on board. The jet originally had been diverted to Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Massachusetts. It landed instead at Stewart, which has a nearly 12,000-foot (3,650-meter) runway. Fans of rapper Post Malone gathered because they heard he was on board. ___ 3:20 p.m. A small group of fans who heard rapper Post Malone was on a private jet that blew two tires during takeoff at a small New Jersey airport and was diverted has gathered at an airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, hoping to watch the jet's emergency landing. There's been no official confirmation Post Malone and musician Andrew Watt are on the plane, which was diverted elsewhere. Westfield-Barnes, Massachusetts, regional airport manager Eric Billowitz says the troubled Gulfstream IV is now bound for New York Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of New York City. The plane was en route to London Luton Airport in Luton, England, when the pilot realized shortly after takeoff that the tires had blown. Post Malone is scheduled to perform at the Reading and Leeds Festival in England over the weekend. The face-tattooed singer/rapper took home the song of the year award at the MTV Video Music Awards Monday night. ___ 1:20 p.m. A plane that blew two tires during takeoff at a small New Jersey airport has been circling over Connecticut before what authorities say will be an attempt to make an emergency landing at an airport in Massachusetts. The Gulfstream IV jet was carrying 16 passengers when it left Teterboro Airport around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday. The pilot soon realized what had happened and began circling the airport for about 30 minutes before the jet was diverted. The jet was headed to London Luton Airport in Luton, England. The Federal Aviation Administration says it was diverted to Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield, Massachusetts. Flight tracking service flightradar24.com showed the flight circling over Stamford and Bridgeport in southern Connecticut on the Long Island Sound shortly after 1 p.m. ___ 12:55 p.m. Authorities say a plane that blew two tires during takeoff at a small New Jersey airport will attempt to make an emergency landing at an airport in Massachusetts. The Gulfstream IV jet was carrying 16 passengers when it left Teterboro Airport around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday. The pilot soon realized what had happened and began circling the airport for about 30 minutes before the jet was diverted. The jet was headed to London Luton Airport in Luton, England. The Federal Aviation Administration says it was diverted to Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield, Massachusetts.
  • A private jet carrying rapper Post Malone blew two tires during takeoff at a small New Jersey airport on Tuesday but made a safe emergency landing hours later in upstate New York, prompting the rapper to thank fans who prayed for him and diss those who 'wished death' on him while he was in the air. The face-tattooed singer/rapper, who had been headed to England, tweeted, 'i landed guys.' 'Oh, my God, I hate flying in general. I don't even know what to say, man. I'm shook,' he told the celebrity website TMZ on Facetime. 'There was one hell of a team on that aircraft, and we're here, we're here on earth, and I need a beer, and I need some wine, at the same time, mixed together.' The plane had 16 people on board when it left Teterboro Airport on Tuesday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Fans gathered at New York Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of New York City, after hearing the rapper was on board, and they cheered when the plane landed just before 4 p.m. The rapper was scheduled to perform at the Reading and Leeds Festival in England over the weekend, according to his website's tour schedule. 'thank you for your prayers,' he posted on Twitter after Tuesday's emergency landing. 'can't believe how many people wished death on me on this website.' The troubled Gulfstream IV was en route from Teterboro to London Luton Airport in Luton, England, when the pilot realized shortly after takeoff that the tires had blown. The pilot began circling the airport for about 30 minutes before the jet was diverted. The plane originally was to attempt an emergency landing at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Massachusetts, airport manager Eric Billowitz said. It circled over Connecticut to burn fuel before the landing, a practice sometimes used to decrease the risk of explosion and fire during emergency landings. Post Malone had been in the New York area on Monday for the MTV Video Music Awards, where he won the song of the year prize. A small group of the curious and fans who had heard he was on the plane on Tuesday initially gathered at the airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, hoping to watch the landing. 'We came down because he had the biggest day of his life yesterday and we wanted to make sure he is safe,' said Jessica Kielb, of Chicopee, Massachusetts. Dom Henry drove to the New York airport with friends as soon as he heard the plane would be landing there instead. He was one of several fans, mostly teenagers, who anxiously waited for the plane behind the chain link fence surrounding the runway. 'I was praying,' he said. Asked whether he was praying for Post Malone's safety, he said, 'Yeah, of course. And to see him.' Anthony DeStefano saw the plane descend and said it appeared to be a normal landing, with no unusual noise or other indications of a problem. DeStefano, a local teacher, acknowledged being unfamiliar with Post Malone until his nephew informed him. 'Great job by the pilot,' DeStefano said. 'People starting clapping as soon as it landed.' Billowitz said he was told the plane was first headed to the Massachusetts airport because there is a Gulfstream service center there and because the airport has 'one of the longest runways in the Northeast' at 9,000 feet (2,740 meters), but the plane was then diverted to Stewart. Stewart's signature feature is a nearly 12,000-foot (3,650-meter) runway, long enough to handle the fat-bodied C-5A Galaxy planes laden with supplies and better for such emergencies. Post Malone took home the song of the year award at the VMAs for his hit 'Rockstar,' featuring 21 Savage. The song is from his latest album, 'Beerbongs & Bentleys.' The 23-year-old was joined on stage by rockers Aerosmith and 21 Savage for a wild performance that closed out the awards show. ___ Associated Press writers David Porter in Newark, New Jersey, and Pat Eaton-Robb in Westfield, Massachusetts, contributed to this report.

News

  • A 61-year-old woman was pinned between her car and a gas pump after a four-car crash at a Lithonia gas station, DeKalb County police said.  Her grandchildren were inside the her car at the time, according to Channel 2 Action News.  The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition following the Monday evening wreck at the Circle K gas station in the intersection of Covington Highway and Evans Mill Road, DeKalb County spokeswoman Shiera Campbell said.  Campbell said the woman was pumping gas when a gray vehicle sped into the gas station at a high rate of speed. The car crashed into a pick-up truck, causing it to crash into a Nissan SUV, Campbell said. The SUV slammed into the woman’s car, pinning her against the gas pump.  Campbell said the people, believed to be juveniles, inside the gray vehicle ran from the scene.  No other details were released.  In other news:
  • Georgia is paying attention to what's happening in other states and around the world with measles.  Measles cases have been identified in 21 states and Washington, D.C. --- 107 in all. Georgia has not seen a case since 2016 but three cases have been reported in Florida and experts say that's close enough. Sheila Lovett directs the immunization program for the state and says a 93.3 percent vaccine coverage rate is serving Georgians well. 'There is a level of protection that is there that is keeping the disease out of our communities. Measles cases hit a record high in Europe. 41,000 cases of infection and 37 deaths in the first half of 2018,' she said. 'Europe is very alarming because the cases are widespread. But you have to look at that coverage rate there as well compared to what we have here.' TRENDING STORIES: Plane carrying famous rapper blows 2 tires, will try emergency landing Buford schools superintendent recorded in racist rant, lawsuit says 15-year-old girl rescued; 4 people accused of trafficking, pimping her for sex Facts show the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease. It's recommended children be vaccinated at 12 months and get a booster between 4 and 6 years old. 'We cannot make them vaccinate their children. What we can do is continue to educate, continue to provide the facts,' she said. Lovett says 'worst case' measles can be a life or death situation, but a vaccine can help protect you from even the mildest complications.  'If you're going to travel is that you've been vaccinated and have received those two doses,' she said. What about the other 7 percent of people who are not vaccinated? That's where we rely on what's called 'herd immunity' since such a high percentage of people who should be vaccinated from this area, they rely on that stat to keep the disease out of the community.. 
  • Marlins right-hander Jose Urena dropped his appeal of a six-game suspension for intentionally hitting Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch. Urena began serving the suspension Tuesday. The Marlins, fearful the Braves might retaliate, had already decided Urena wouldn't pitch against them during a four-game series later this week. 'It seems like there's no reason to open that back up,' manager Don Mattingly said. 'We don't need that.' Urena is expected to return at Boston on Aug. 28. He hit Acuna on the left arm with his first pitch, triggering a melee in the Marlins' 5-2 loss in Atlanta last Wednesday. Acuna went into the game having homered in five straight games, including four homers in the three games against Miami — three of them leading off. Acuna left the game injured but was back in the lineup the next day. Urena was ejected. His next start came Sunday, when he pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game to beat Washington 12-1. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • West Virginia's Republican House speaker resigned Tuesday to run for a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, fueling accusations by Democrats that an unprecedented move to impeach state Supreme Court justices represents a power grab by GOP lawmakers. Speaker Tim Armstead disclosed his plans on Twitter. Though the secretary of state's office has said he's not required to resign, Armstead said he was doing so to make sure his candidacy is above question. House lawmakers recently impeached four of the court's five justices, prompting one to resign. All four were ordered Tuesday to appear in the Senate on Sept. 11 to answer accusations against them. The impeachment probe was sparked by questions involving more than $3 million in renovations to the justices' offices and expanded to broader accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Armstead had recused himself from the House debate over impeachment because he had previously expressed interest in serving on the court. More recently, he and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, a Republican who is not seeking re-election and lost in his bid for the U.S. Senate this spring, both applied to be considered for temporary appointments to the Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Justice. Those appointments would last until the November election is certified. Jenkins has declared himself a candidate for a different seat on the court in the November election, which is officially nonpartisan. The West Virginia Democratic Party said on Twitter of Armstead's resignation, 'No surprise here, more self-serving moves for political gain and abandoning the people of West Virginia in his district.' In a statement announcing his resignation, Armstead said he intends 'to spend as much time as possible meeting West Virginians and earning their trust and their votes to represent them on their Supreme Court of Appeals.' Armstead filed by Tuesday's deadline to run in the nonpartisan race for the vacancy created last month when Menis Ketchum retired and agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud related to his personal use of a state vehicle and fuel. Robin Davis stepped down from the court Aug. 14 after lawmakers voted to impeach her and justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman and Beth Walker. Davis and at least one Democratic lawmaker have accused the Republican-led legislature of turning what they said was a legitimate pursuit of charges against Loughry into a blatant attempt to take over the court. Democratic Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer of Monongalia County has called impeaching the other justices 'a power grab ... and using the impeachment process to take over another branch of government.' Jenkins and six other candidates have filed to run for Davis' seat in November. Armstead and nine other candidates have filed to run for the seat Ketchum vacated. Loughry faces six charges related to accusations of spending $363,000 on office renovations, taking home a $42,000 antique desk owned by the state, and lying to a House committee. Loughry, Walker and Workman all face charges of abusing authority by failing to control office expenses and not maintaining policies about the use of state vehicles, office computers at home and other matters. Workman faces two separate impeachment articles related to accusations that she allowed senior status judges to be paid higher wages than are allowed. Armstead was appointed to a House seat from Kanawha County in 1998 to fill a vacancy and was elected later that year. He served as House minority leader and was named speaker in December 2014 after Republicans gained majority control of both the House and Senate for the first time in eight decades. Some Democrats have said the impeachments were strategically timed by majority Republican lawmakers to allow the governor to name their temporary replacements. 'There's never been any time in history where one branch of government supposedly controls another branch,' Senate Democratic leader Roman Perzioso said Monday. 'And for the governor to be able to appoint people to be replaced, obviously there's that apprehension by a lot of the Democratic senators and House members, too.
  • A man accused of shooting and killing a man in a Walmart parking lot appeared in court Tuesday.  Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said that while he does believe Troy Hunte killed Fadil Delkic, a refugee from the Bosnian War, in the parking lot of a Snellville Walmart Sunday, he is not convinced there was malice involved. “Clearly there was provocation on both sides, so that's the reason they made that choice,” Porter said. Sunday afternoon, shoppers at the Scenic Highway store were sent into a panic after a shot was fired outside.  “All you saw was everyone running,” witness Robin Reynolds told Channel 2 Action News. [READ MORE: Bosnian War survivor identified as victim in Walmart parking lot shooting] Witnesses said Hunte, his girlfriend and their child were heading into the store as Delkic was driving away. Hunte's girlfriend apparently thought Delkic pulled too close to them in a crosswalk. TRENDING STORIES: Buford schools superintendent recorded in racist rant, lawsuit says Man arrested in death of Mollie Tibbetts details what happened Girl, 15, says police officer sexually assaulted her for hours; GBI investigating The two argued, she slapped Delkic, then police said Hunte shot and killed the Bosnian refugee.  Hunte made his first court appearance Tuesday on what are now voluntary manslaughter charges.   Porter said the charges may change as his team investigates. He hinted Hunte may claim self-defense. “There are two questions in this case. Number one: Was there a right to defend him or his girlfriend? And number two: Was he justified in using deadly force?” Porter said. Delkic is getting a lot of support. An online fundraising effort has taken in $25,000 in less than a day.  Some of Delkic's family are not only asking why the suspect is not charged with murder, but why the woman who first argued with Delkic has not also been charged. “There was a child to consider. There were other issues that taking her into custody at this point was not necessary for the public safety,” Porter said. Porter said the woman is not entirely cleared yet. “That's something that is still under investigation and she may be (charged),” Porter said.
  • Shanann Watts’ father sobbed in a Colorado courtroom Tuesday as a judge recited the charges against his son-in-law -- charges that indicate detectives believe Chris Watts may have killed his children before his pregnant wife returned home from a business trip.  Chris Watts, 33, of Frederick, was charged Monday with nine felony charges: five counts of first-degree murder, including two for killing a child under the age of 12 while the defendant was in a position of trust, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. He is being held without bail in the Weld County Jail.  The defendant faces a potential death penalty on the murder charges.  In a confession to police, Chris Watts alleged that he strangled Shanann Watts, 34, after seeing her do the same to their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Disbelieving investigators charged him with all three murders, as well as with the death of the couple’s unborn child.   >> Related story: Colorado father charged with killing pregnant wife, 2 daughters, says wife killed children Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant with a son they planned to name Niko, friends and family have said. A Change.org petition started by friends demands that Colorado adopt a new law, named “Niko’s Law,” to make the killing of an unborn baby like the Watts’ son first-degree murder. As Chris Watts sat stone-faced throughout Tuesday’s proceedings, which were streamed live by CBS Denver, Judge Marcello Kopcow advised Watts of the updated charges levied against him. Watts had been in custody since Wednesday on suspicion of murder and tampering with evidence.  Chris Watts told 9News in Denver in an interview the day before his arrest that he had nothing to do with the deaths of his family.  “Everybody’s going to have their own opinion on anything like this,” Watts said in the TV interview. “I just want people to know that I want my family back. I want them safe and I want them here.” The charges Kopcow read in court state that Chris Watts caused the death of his wife on Aug. 13, the day she and her daughters were reported missing by a friend. The charges related to Bella and Celeste, however, state that he caused their deaths “between and including Aug. 12, 2018, and Aug. 13, 2018.” Shanann Watts was out of town until early Aug. 13.  An arrest affidavit released Monday states that the friend who reported Shanann and the girls missing, Nickole Utoft Atkinson, dropped Shanann off at the Watts’ home just before 2 a.m. that day. The two women had been on a business trip to Arizona for Le-Vel, a health and wellness company that sells nutritional products.  “Nicole (sic) stated Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant and was not feeling well during the trip,” the affidavit states.  Atkinson became concerned later that morning because Shanann Watts missed a 10 a.m. doctor’s appointment and was not answering phone calls or texts. She went to the couple’s home at 2825 Saratoga Trail to check on her.  Read the charges against Chris Watts below. “(Nickole) went to Shanann’s residence and discovered her car in the garage with car seats positioned inside of it,” the affidavit says. “(She) attempted to enter the front door, but a latch prevented it from opening more than three inches.” Atkinson called Chris Watts at work and asked him to return home to check on his wife, the court document reads. She was afraid that Shanann Watts, who reportedly had lupus, had passed out or was suffering some other medical emergency.  Atkinson also called police, who arrived before Chris Watts did. Once Chris Watts arrived and allowed officers into the house, they found Shanann Watts’ personal belongings -- her cellphone, purse, wallet and medication -- inside.  They also found a pair of women’s shoes kicked off by the front door and a suitcase, apparently from her Arizona trip, at the bottom of the stairs, the affidavit states.  Chris Watts initially told investigators that around 4 a.m. that day, he told his wife he wanted a separation. He said it was an emotional conversation, with both of them upset and crying, but that it was not argumentative.  Chris Watts told detectives that when he left for work just before 5:30 a.m., Shanann Watts told him she and the girls would be going to a friend’s home later in the day. He said that he backed his work truck up into the driveway to load some tools into it before leaving.  Read the warrantless arrrest affidavit in the Chris Watts case below. The truck’s movements were captured by a neighbor’s security camera, the affidavit says.  During the investigation into the disappearance of Shanann Watts and her daughters, investigators learned that Chris Watts was having an affair with a female co-worker at Anadarko Petroleum Corp. -- an affair that he denied in previous interviews.  Chris Watts was taken into custody Wednesday night, at which time Anadarko fired him. In a subsequent police interview Thursday, after being allowed to speak to his father, Chris Watts admitted strangling Shanann Watts the morning of Aug. 13, the affidavit states.  “Chris stated after he told Shanann he wanted a separation, he walked downstairs for a moment and then returned to his bedroom to speak with Shanann again,” the affidavit states. “While in the bedroom, via baby monitor located on Shanann’s nightstand, he observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste. “Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death.” Chris Watts told detectives that, when he backed his truck into the driveway, it was his wife and daughters’ bodies he loaded into the back seat, the affidavit states. He said he drove the bodies to an Anadarko work site just north of Roggan, an unincorporated area of Weld County about 40 miles from the family’s home in Frederick.  A Google Maps search using the coordinates of the site, which are included in the affidavit, shows a desolate area in which a dirt road leads to a couple of large oil tanks.  Chris Watts told investigators buried Shanann in a shallow grave near the tanks and dumped his daughters’ bodies inside the tanks.  “Chris was presented an aerial photograph of the tank battery area and identified three separate locations in which he placed the bodies,” the affidavit reads. Prior to Watts’ alleged confession, investigators did a drone search of the site and spotted a bedsheet in a field near the tank battery, the document says. The sheet matched the pattern of pillow cases and a top sheet discovered stuffed into a trash can in Watts’ kitchen earlier Thursday.  Shanann Watts’ body was found that afternoon, buried in a shallow grave near the oil tanks. Bella and Celeste were found inside the tanks, which were almost completely full of crude oil.  The girls’ bodies had been submerged in oil for four days, according to court documents filed by Chris Watts’ defense lawyer. The attorney, James Merson, sought to have defense experts at the autopsies of the victims, and to have DNA swabs done on the necks of the children, an apparent bid to prove that Shanann Watts killed her daughters.  Kopcow on Friday denied the motion to have defense experts present at the autopsies, but granted the request to for DNA swabs of Bella and Celeste’s necks. He denied the defense’s request that their expert take the swabs, however.  “Furthermore, defendant’s request to order prosecution to collect evidence in the manner described by defense expert is denied,” the order reads. “This court cannot order the prosecution and/or coroner how to conduct their investigation.” Kopcow said there was no indication that prosecutors or the coroner would destroy evidence, improperly collect it or fail to collect it.  The disappearance and killings of Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts have captured national attention, and inspired gut-wrenching emotion from those who knew them. Shanann Watts’ father, Frank Rzucek, tearfully spoke publicly Monday ahead of the news conference at which Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke announced the charges against Chris Watts.  “We would like to thank everyone in the Frederick Police Department and all the agencies involved for working so hard to find my daughter, granddaughters and Niko,” Rzucek said. “Thank you, everyone, for coming out to the candlelight vigil and saying all your prayers. They are greatly appreciated. “Keep the prayers coming for our family.” Rzucek has also been active on his Facebook page, posting photos of Bella and Celeste smiling and playing together. In one post, he uploaded the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.” “Dear Bella and Celeste and Nico,” Rzucek wrote. “Pop Pop loves you. God bless you.” He also posted several photos of Shanann Watts.  “Dad loves you,” he wrote on one. On another, he wrote, “We got you, baby.” Family friends who let Chris Watts stay in their home after his wife and daughters went missing expressed shock over the accusations against him -- and apologized for taking him in and defending him against swirling rumors.  “Had we had any inclination that we thought he was involved at all, no way would I have let him in my house with my wife and kid,” Nick Thayer told 9News Thursday, the day Watts confessed and the bodies were found.  “They were family,” his wife, Amanda Thayer, told the news station. “They spent Thanksgivings with us and Fourth of Julys and all the holidays. It’s just unreal.” The couple, who also took in the Watts family’s dog, Deeter, until Shanann’s family could pick him up, is now left figuring out how to tell their 5-year-old daughter that her playmates are dead. They are also struggling to understand the crime themselves, 9News reported.  “I’m so sorry. We didn’t know. We thought we were doing the right thing,’ Nick Thayer said. “It’s all we can do is say we’re sorry that we defended him on social media. We really had no idea that he was capable of doing something like we’ve.... I hate it. I hate all of this.”