Prosecutors have asked Chris Watts, the Colorado man accused of killing his pregnant wife and two children, to provide them and police with DNA, finger palm prints and photographs of his hands -- evidence that may contradict his claims to police that it was his pregnant wife Shanann who murdered their two little girls.
“The prosecution is seeking DNA evidence in an apparent attempt to link Mr. Watts to evidence found in on near the bodies,” Denver defense attorney Rick Kornfeld told Oxygen.com. “Depending on the location of any DNA on the bodies, this evidence could support the allegation that Mr. Watts murdered his children.”
A hearing was held in Colorado courtroom Thursday to discuss the motion. A decision by a judge has not yet been made.
Watts, 33, has been charged with nine felonies, including five counts of first-degree murder, according to the criminal complaint and information made public by a Colorado court. Watts also faces one count of first-degree unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body, according to the filings.
In a twist, however, he told police that he strangled his 34-year-old wife Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, in a fit of rage after she killed their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, inside their Frederick, Colorado home last month. He claimed she killed their children after he revealed to her that he was having an affair with his coworker and that he wanted to separate. Prosecutors, however, believe that Watts was the one who killed the girls.
“[This week's motion] suggests that Mr. Watts may not have been willing to consent to provide these ‘reference samples’ voluntarily,” Dr. Phillip B. Danielson, forensic genetics professor at the University of Denver tells Oxygen.com. He added that the motion also suggests that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory already has or reasonably expects to be able to produce evidence linked to the crime that can be compared to the samples that the prosecution hopes to get.
“A prior defense motion sought to collects swabs from the necks of the victims – presumably to look for trace DNA so as to identify the person who may have strangled them or to potentially exclude Mr. Watts,” he said.
Meanwhile, Watts’ attorneys want an investigation into whether prosecutors or police leaked information about the case to the media.
Prosecutors denied the accusation in a court filing and said that much of the information about the case reported by news outlets came from the defense's own court documents, The Denver Post reported.
Watts remains in the Weld County Jail without bond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[Photo: Colorado Bureau of Investigation]