DENVER – Shanann Watts’ family has sued Chris Watts to try and keep him from ever profiting off the deaths of their daughter or granddaughters.
The lawsuit, which Denver7 first reported would be filed last week when Watts was sentenced to life in prison without parole, is a wrongful death claim intended to help the family recoup funeral expenses, the loss of Shanann’s future income and give them compensation for ongoing emotional distress stemming from the killings of Shanann, her daughters Bella and Celeste, and her unborn child.
The family’s attorneys say that the family and Shanann’s estate are entitled to economic and non-economic damages under Colorado law, and the lawsuit asks that the family be able to amend the claims in the future. That will likely amount to thousands of dollars in restitution, District Attorney Michael Rourke said last week.
One of the family’s attorneys, Steven Lambert, told Denver7 last week that the point of the suit was to keep Watts from profiting off the case in the future should he write a book or try and get money from the sale of their house.
“He cannot profit from any inheritance that he would normally receive from Shanann,” Lambert said. “On top of that, any proceed that he might derive from a sale of a book – he would not be able to keep any of that. Also, any assets that he might receive once we get a judgment from the court, we can file any liens and get things like that on any assets from here into the future.”
The lawsuit says that Shanann’s father, Frank Rzucek, is also entitled to similar claims because Watts pleaded guilty to unlawful termination of a pregnancy for killing his and Shanann’s unborn child, whom the family called Nico.
Watts pleaded guilty to nine counts in the case and received three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, in addition to several more consecutive and concurrent sentences for other counts.
He was transferred this week to a Denver facility to undergo mental and medical evaluations before he is sent to prison.