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Former Prison Psychologist Defends ‘Intimate’ Relationship With Family Killer Chris Watts

Christa Richello, who started corresponding with Chris Watts and his cellmate Dylan Tallman, says she believes Watts is innocent. 

By Gina Tron

A former prison psychologist is defending her “close” relationship with Chris Watts, whom she feels is innocent. 

Christa Richello was one of many who sent the family annihilator “fan mail” after he murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two daughters, according to a press release for Lifetime's "Cellmate Secrets: Chris Watts," which will explore his life behind bars and the bond he's formed with Richello.

“Chris still receives an overwhelming amount of fan mail behind bars and when his cellmate Dylan Tallman responded on his behalf to a fan letter from Christa Richello, it was the beginning of a close and intimate relationship between the trio,” the press release states. 

The Lifetime special will premiere on Friday at 10 p.m. ET.  

For those unfamiliar with the notoriously brutal case, Watts killed his entire family in August 2018. He first strangled his wife Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant with their son, inside their Frederick, Colorado home before smothering their young daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. After disposing of their bodies at an oil drilling site where he worked, he attempted to play the role of a concerned husband and dad whose family had gone missing. But that facade soon crumbled: it became evident that he'd been having an affair and, after the bodies were discovered, he was arrested before ultimately pleading guilty to their murders; he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Despite the fact that Chris gave a five-hour interview detailing the killing of his family following his conviction, he still has supporters and fans. Richello is one such example.

The 42-year-old former prison psychologist “is adamant that Chris Watts is innocent “ and she’s currently writing a book with both him and his cellmate Dylan, whom she is now engaged to.

Chris Watts Christa Richello G Lifetime

"I found it very odd, the way the case was handled," she says in the show, according to clip obtained by E! Online. "I've never seen a case in history that somebody took a plea agreement so quickly, a case was completely ended and not investigated."

She says in the show that “there’s no way he could have committed these crimes,” citing his devotion to religion and spirituality.

Richello relates in the show that she's drawn to people in prison and would visit her incarcerated father, who, as the clip shows bore a striking resemblance to Charles Manson, as a child. She claims that being attracted to notorious men is in her DNA and says that her mother was actually on her way to live with the Manson Family on their California ranch when she met Richello’s dad.

“It’s pretty interesting because my mom did stand up for Charles Manson and I’m standing up for Chris Watts,” she says in the show.

In interviews, she gets into her relationship with the two men, who apparently consider themselves brothers, “although some suspect that there’s more going on with the two men,” the Lifetime Press release states.