Skip to content

Episode 90: Chris Watts Prison Interview Part 1

On February 18, 2019, Chris Watts, 33, was visited in Dodge Correctional Institution, Waupun, Wisconsin, by FBI Special Agent Graham Coder, Frederick Police Department Detective Dave Baumhover, and CBI Agent Tammy Lee, who conducted the original polygraph that Watts failed. Watts was amenable to the interview, which lasted for almost five hours.

In response to Special Agent Coder’s questions, Watts talks about the problems in his marriage and his growing feelings for Nichol Kessenger, and gives more details about the crime.   He describes the argument with his wife, Shannan, that led to him straddling her while she was lying in bed, then choking her in a rage. He then explains how he dragged his wife’s body downstairs, loaded her in the back of his truck, and strapped his daughters into their car seats. After driving for 45 minutes, he smothered his two daughters with a blanket and dropped their bodies, separately, into two wells. Watts grows tearful as he recalls the episode.

The FBI agents are genial and chatty. Special Agent Coder is especially gentle and encouraging, repeatedly reminding Watts they’re not out to judge or condemn him, just to understand. “Chris, you care about others deeply, I can tell,” he says. “You worry about others… You made a two minute mistake in an otherwise good life. You’re not a monster.” Coder sounds convincing enough to put Watts at ease and elicit the details he wants to hear. Chris Watts is serving three consecutive life sentences for the murders. This is part one of a two-part interview.

Listen to the episode here (warning: poor sound quality).