• Jim Leach

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth …. Really?

Two high profile murderers made “confessions” lately. Chris Watts very brutally murdered his pregnant wife and their two children. Watts pleaded guilty to 4 counts of first degree murder and received consecutive life sentences for each one. Jake Patterson kidnapped an innocent young girl, after murdering her parents, and held her hostage for 3 months before she escaped. Jake says he will plead guilty at his next court hearing. Let’s take a little more in depth look at what was said by these cowardly killers.

Chris Watts at his sentencing hearing. Photo credit: R.J.Sangosti/The Denver Post

In the beginning Watts tried to say his family disappeared. When the noose tightened, he changed his story and claimed he killed his wife, Shanann, because she killed the children. Watts now says he and his wife had a “discussion” and he admitted to having an affair. She threatened to divorce him and take the children. He says he felt like something had “snapped” inside of him because of the rage he was feeling. He strangled his wife to death. According to expert testimony, death by strangulation would probably have taken 2-4 minutes. Watts says his wife did not struggle. It is hard to imagine anyone being strangled to death and not putting forth some kind of resistance. In an effort to further distance himself from the evil of his act he said maybe she was praying and compared his murderous act with the crucifixion of Christ. Watts referred to Jesus asking The Father to forgive the people who were killing him and speculated Shanann may have been asking God to forgive her murderer while he was killing her. The killer says it was as if “other” hands were on top of his while he was choking the life out of his wife and those “other” hands wouldn’t let him stop killing her. Watts went on to say it was like he had lost his mind and “didn’t know what had happened.”

While he was wrapping his wife’s body up in a sheet in preparation for the disposal of her body, the children walked in. One of the children said, ‘What have you done to Mommy?”. Watts carried his wife’s dead body about 45 minutes away to one of his work sites to bury her body. His two children, Celeste, 3 and Bella, 4, were with him riding in the back seat. Upon reaching his work site he strangled Celeste while she sat next to her sister. He forced her dead body into a petroleum pit and returned to his truck to kill Bella. Of course the older daughter had seen everything that happened to her sister and had to know her father had killed her mother. She begged her father not kill her. Watts says the last words his daughter spoke were “Daddy, NO!” The medical examiner found evidence she fought back, but of course she was overpowered. This daughter was also stuffed into a petroleum vat. The monster used the same blanket to strangle both children and after killing them he buried his wife.

The killer says he reads the Bible every day now that he is in prison. Watts says he did not plan the murder, saying he asks himself the question, “did I know I was going to do that?” He goes on to say, “It just felt like there was already something… and I had no control over it.”

Jake Patterson abducted Jayme Closs after he murdered her parents in cold blood at their home. Three months later Jayme escaped. When police questioned Patterson he said he targeted Jayme randomly when he saw her getting on a school bus. He later surveilled her home to ascertain the right time to make his murderous attack. He tried to impress the police with how smart he is by saying he cut his hair to keep from leaving DNA evidence. The murderer also bragged about hiding Jayme in the trunk of his car and driving past police.

A reporter sent Patterson a letter asking him several questions and last week the killer responded. He told a little different story. He told the reporter he did not plan the crime at all and he knew he would get caught. Patterson says he was surprised it took the police so long to catch him.

According to his latest rendition he kept up with what the news reported about Jayme’s disappearance and her parent’s murder investigation by social media. He says if it came on TV he would change the channel and didn’t know what Jayme knew about what had happened or what was going on. He is trying to give the impression he was actually her protector.

When captured, he did not resist and immediately began telling his story. Patterson now claims police changed his statement to make him appear to be a cold, calculated killer. He also says he told police everything so they would not need to subject Jayme to an interview and further traumatize her. The murderer claims he will plead guilty as soon as possible so he won’t put Jayme through any more anguish.

These two situations are classic examples of people who are guilty and want to confess, for one reason or another, but also want to minimize their guilt. They may want to justify their actions to the court to receive a better sentence, or try and relieve the burden of guilt on their own heart. In some instances they may be concerned about the opinion of significant others concerning what happened.

Below are some of the justifications offered by the killers.

It really wasn’t my fault.

According to Watts he and his wife were having a discussion and that discussion ended up with him confessing to having an affair. Perhaps the discussion began with questions about an affair? Perhaps it wasn’t the first time the couple had argued about his infidelity. He goes on to say he became violent when his pregnant wife threatened to divorce him and take the children. Let’s make sure we got this straight. Watts became violent and killed his wife because she was going to take their two lovely children away from him. The same two precious he murdered an hour later.

I was forced to do it by factors outside of my control.

Watts seems to want us to believe the murders happened as uncontrollable incidents and were really out of his control. Let’s see, he choked her to death and strangulation is one of the most cold blooded and brutal ways to kill someone. He would have been face to face with his pregnant wife for several minutes watching her die and she was probably begging for her life and the life of their unborn child. He says there was an unknown pair of hands on top of his hands. Watts would make us believe this paranormal pair of hands wouldn’t allow him to stop choking his wife. The Son of Sam claimed a dog ordered him to kill people and now this guy has a mysterious pair of hands forcing him to murder his wife.

It’s really all about me.

In Watts’ interviews with the media, he says his “house was incomplete” without his wife and children. He showed no remorse for the family he had just murdered. He was only concerned with how he was affected. It is unbelievable how a person could shop for sympathy after doing what he had done.

I am not sure what happened.

When he was first arrested, it seemed as though he wanted to brag about how smart he was and how well he planned the crime. He even said he cut his hair to try and avoid leaving DNA evidence at the crime scene. Now wants us to believe that nothing was planned and everything just sort of happened.

Maybe I was a little bad, but they were worse!

Jake Patterson wants to direct the blame toward anyone besides himself. In responding to the reporter’s questions he tried to blame the police for any trauma Jayme may experience. This is the “Maybe I was bad, but they were bad too.” I bet your mother wouldn’t have fallen for that defense. She probably would have told you that what the other kids had done did not matter to her!

I didn’t really do anything very bad.

Of course, the ultimate denial of guilt is the fact that Patterson doesn’t really address the parent’s murders at all. The defense mechanism in his warped mind is trying to convince that if he doesn’t talk about it, it will “go away”.

After testifying in a first degree murder case, the defendant’s father approached the investigator who had testified to the confession the man’s son had made. The father said, “I didn’t believe Kenneth did it, but after hearing you testify, you should have tied him to the bumper of your car and drug him until he was dead.”

That would be too good for Watts and Patterson. They are true monsters.

The author, Jim Leach, is a former Special Agent in Charge for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and author of The Leach Report, which can be found at “” as well as “You Can Tell ME, a simple guide to effective interviewing” which is available on in both paperback and Kindle editions.

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