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Before the Lifetime Original Movie comes out, learn everything about the Chris Watts case. Watch witness and expert testmony about this tragic murder.

What drove Chris Watts to murder? Every documentary on the subject

Just hours after pleading for his family’s return, Chris Watts confessed to killing his pregnant wife Shanann, their two young daughters, and their unborn child. Now he’s serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Chris Watts is also the subject of many documentaries, true-crime TV shows, and YouTube video analyses. 

Chris Watts seemed like a devoted family man. His wife Shanann credited Watts with saving her life when she was ill. She was a stay-at-home mom devoted to her kids. Her marriage was falling apart, and as Shanann read marriage-improvement books, her husband plotted her murder. 

Chris Watts killed Shanann and their children in cold blood. He buried their bodies in a shallow grave. While he pretended to have no knowledge of Shanann Watt’s whereabouts, a friend of hers called 911 concerned about her well-being. That started an investigation that quickly pointed to Chris Watts as the murderer. 

Chris Watts’ story is being made into a Lifetime Original Movie announced at the end of 2019. Meanwhile, several documentaries and docuseries about Chris Watts and his family are available to stream or check out on YouTube. 

Chris Watts: Criminal Confessions

Originally aired on Oxygen, this episode of Criminal Confessions documents the investigative team who took Watts down after the murder. From the initial 911 call from a concerned friend to Watts’ sentencing, the documentary follows the forensic side of the case. The documentary also interviews the friends & neighbors of Chris Watts. 

Morbid Fascination: The Chris Watts Case

If podcasts are more of your thing, head on over to Scribe Light’s channel on YouTube for an hour-long discussion on the Chris Watts case. Scribe Light comments on the investigation, Chris Watts’ family’s reaction after Watts’ confession, and Watts’ sentencing. 

(Chilling) Chris Watts Documentary

The most chilling part of this YouTube documentary on Fame & Infamy’s channel is the opening where Watt’s wife Shahann Watts lovingly explains how she and Chris met and how he’s the “best thing that ever happened to her.” At the end of her monologue, she announces her third pregnancy, shortly before she was murdered

The true-crime documentary almost exclusively makes use of real-time footage from cell phones and video cameras to weave a chilling picture of what happened in the Chris Watts case. 

Shanann Watts Documentary from Chilling Evil TV

This one is part of a docuseries from Chilling Evil TV called Heaven Has Butterflies. The first episode on YouTube is called The Caterpillar and the Spider. It begins with news footage from Chris Watt’s first hearing after murdering his wife and children. 

The DARK UNTOLD Life Of Chris Watts

Another YouTube documentary, this short video examines Chris Watts’ time in prison, explaining how he’s a target in his maximum security jail. Anyone who knows anything about US prison culture knows that if an offender has harmed children, or has a high profile case, they have a target on their back. Watts fits both descriptions. 

Watts may never be released into the general population for that reason. Inmates boo when he enters a room, which officials believe is a red flag. Chris Watts could end up assaulted or worse if he’s alone with another inmate or put in gen pop. 

The documentary also shows a list of commissary items that Chris Watts bought in prison. While these items are mainly normal and include snacks and shower supplies, they also show that he’s writing back to women who send him fan mail. 

Dr. Phil Specials

“We don’t see it coming because our minds don’t have the capacity to go to that dark place,” Dr. Phil explains about why Shanann Watts could be so taken by Chris and not realize what kind of a person he really was before it was too late. 

Dr. Phil speaks with an FBI criminal profiler, Shanann Watts’ family members, and founder of and media personality Nancy Grace. They share their insights about Chris Watts and what led to his heinous actions alongside Dr. Phil’s analysis of Watts’ behavior during the interview. 

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  • I feel that the girl friend probably had a hunch he was thinking how to get rid of them

    October 7, 2020
  • this is so disgusting, he could’ve just filed a divorce but no…he killed them all like the monster he is

    October 10, 2020
  • He should have some punishment in Jail. Like 1 letter and 1 card and 1 phone call a month. He has it to easy.

    October 26, 2020
  • The question “What drove Chris Watts to Murder” is a revolting question. It suggests that some force outside of him – his financial situation, his affair, his sudden hatred for his wife that just 6 weeks before he couldn’t keep his hands off of – is responsible for this act.

    Chris Watts is a sociopath. What drove him to murder was an obsession to murder his family. This wasn’t a crime of passion or rage crime. Going to prison for murder doesn’t put you any closer to your mistress or a debt-free life.

    No rational person with a conscience could be “driven” to commit this act. I’ve heard ridiculous comments online that he was going to get cleaned out in the divorce (of WHAT? They were $70,000 in debt and had already been bankrupt once before in 2015… he was no stranger to financial issues), going to lose his kids (really?), and going to have to pay alimony.

    The fact that there are people out there who think it’s rational to kill your wife because she’s controlling or going to clean you out is scary. It’s okay, though. Chris only has $6 million in debt now for the murders, and he’ll definitely never have to pay alimony, child support, mortgages, truck payments, or utility bills again.

    May 4, 2023

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