WARNING: Graphic content

Chris Watts, who is in jail for murdering his wife, two daughters and his unborn son in August last year, has written a chilling letter where he confesses the murders and says he murdered his daughters "twice".

In the letter he described the horrifying details of the night when he killed his pregnant wife Shannan, unborn son Nico, and his daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

Watts says he attempted to smother Bella and Celeste but the girls then woke up, bruised and traumatised by what he'd done to them.

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He revealed these new details in a letter to Cheryln Cadle, who is preparing to release her book Letters from Christopher on October 7.

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Cadle struck up a correspondence with Watts after he went to jail for the murders.

"August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls' room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella's room, then Cece's room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That's why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece's room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued.

He strangled his wife Shanann to death, wrapping her body in a blanket before burying her in a shallow grave. Photo / Supplied
He strangled his wife Shanann to death, wrapping her body in a blanket before burying her in a shallow grave. Photo / Supplied

"After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I'm not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella's eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries."

In the letter, he admits concealing this and other facts from authorities and said he would not talk about certain things on phone calls from prison as these are recorded.

After spending months claiming he killed his family in a spontaneous outburst of rage, he now admits that he spent months planning to murder his wife so he could be with his mistress, co-worker Nichol Kessinger.

"August 12th when I finished putting the girls to bed, I walked away and said 'That's the last time I'm going to be tucking my babies in.' I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it," he wrote.

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He admitted that he had been slipping Oxycodone, a potent painkiller, in his wife's drinks, hoping to induce a miscarriage.

"I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn't pregnant," he wrote.

He has opened up to Cadle describing in great detail how he killed Shanann.

"Isn't it weird how I look back and what I remember so much is her face getting all black with streaks of mascara?" he said.

"All the weeks of me thinking about killing her, and now I was faced with it. When she started to get drowsy, I somehow knew how to squeeze the jugular veins until it cut off the blood flow to her brain, and she passed out...

"I knew if I took my hands off of her, she would still keep me from Nikki. They asked me why she couldn't fight back, it's because she couldn't fight back. Her eyes filled with blood; as she looked at me and she died. I knew she was gone when she relieved herself."

His daughters reportedly entered the bedroom as he was wrapping Shanann's lifeless body in a bedsheet. They asked what was wrong with Mum and he told them she wasn't feeling well.

"The girls were just kind of running around the house, and watching me with scared looks on their faces. Bella started to cry and when she did Celeste started whimpering. What a nightmare this was," he recalls.

"I realise now the girls getting up and walking around may have been God's third attempt to stop what I was doing."

He said he felt "so mad they were still alive".

He then drove with his wife's corprse and his two daughters to the oil field owned by his then-employer Anadarko.

That's where he ended up killing Bella and Celeste.

Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two little girls Bella, 4 and Celeste, 3 on August 13, 2018. Photo / Supplied
Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two little girls Bella, 4 and Celeste, 3 on August 13, 2018. Photo / Supplied

"I dumped Shanann on the ground, then I walked back to the truck and with the blanket that Celeste was holding, I put it over her head and smothered her."

He then squeezed her body through the hatch in one of the oil tankers.

"I couldn't believe how easily it was to just let her drop through the hole and let her go. I heard the splash as she hit the oil."

He then killed his eldest daughter Bella who he said "had a will to live".

"Out of all three, Bella is the only one that put up a fight. I will hear her soft little voice for the rest of my life, saying, 'Daddy, NO'. She knew what I was doing to her. She may not have understood death, but she knew I was killing her."

He put Bella in the oil tank and then buried his wife's body in a shallow grave.

"When I dug the hole, it seemed a lot deeper than it was. As I pulled on the sheet she rolled out and into the hole. I think she had given birth. She landed face down, I remember being so angry with her that I was not going to change how she landed," he said.

The autopsy later confirmed that Shanann's amniotic sac, with the foetus, was protruding from her vaginal area.

He took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and will spend his life behind bars.

Cadle convinced Watts to release the letters by reportedly telling him he could make a difference in people's lives and that his story could still become a "story of redemption".

"Let me just say, the crime was horrific, so I'm not writing you to tell you how wonderful you are or that I want to be pen pals," she wrote in a letter to him.

She reportedly wrote three letters to Watts before he replied. She then visited him in prison three times, around five hours each time.

They have been speaking on the phone about three times a week since March.

Kessinger has reportedly been placed in witness protection and is living in a different state under a new identity.

Read Chris Watts' letter in full below

April 23, 2019

Dear Cheryln,

Hello again! I hope you are doing well! It has been awesome talking with you on the phone, but I know the 15-minute timeframe is a pain. Sometimes I can get right back on the phone but right now there are other inmates that like to be on the phone as much as I do, so I respect their time as well. How's your dad doing, I've been praying on that every day.

Yes, that petition really blew my mind that people really want to make me suffer like that. Even if they did ever take my pictures, they can't take my memories. An inmate from another institution wrote me about that subject and said, "If they take your pictures, they would need to take the pictures from the other 500-600 people that have their family pictures up on their cell convicted of the same act."

Do I feel like I should be incarcerated? For the act I committed, I most definitely think so. Do I imagine myself ever doing anything like this or be a danger to society? I most definitely think NOT! If I were to ever be released, I know I would go straight to a ministry and start going to jails/prisons and help inmates.

If God led me to be ordained, I would go that route as well; possibly even be a chaplain. Maybe the laws will change one day. My attorney team could see I was different and knew that this was a one-time occurrence for me. They told me that in Europe, the law is I would serve 20 years or so for homicide, and in California, after 25 years of imprisonment, on a life sentence you can be released if you've had good behaviour. So, there's hope for everyone to live outside prison walls. I know physically I'm behind these walls, but my spirit is FREE with Christ!

If God keeps putting it on your heart that there is more to the story than what I told the FBI has, you're correct. I don't like saying stuff like that over the phone because I'm never certain when they screen my calls. I know I already told you the vision I had before August 13th, when I was lying in bed and all the lights were on in the loft and downstairs and I felt so alone. That's exactly what happened April 14th when I was lying in bed.

I don't know if you want this in the book or if God does but here are the things I left out. 1) August 12th when I finished putting the girls to bed, I walked away and said "That's the last time I'm going to be tucking my babies in." I knew what was going to happen the day before and I did nothing to stop it! I was numb to the entire world. I had literally taken my kids to a birthday party, played with water balloons, had an amazing time, sang songs all the way home, gave them bath a shower, ate dinner, read bedtime stories and sang bedtime songs, and still nothing registered!!

When Shanann had to be somewhere, I always enjoyed taking the girls places or playing outside because it was our opportunity to bond, and still the night before I couldn't stop myself from what I knew would occur the next morning.

2) August 13th, morning of, I went to the girls' room first, before Shanann and I had our argument. I went to Bella's room, then Cece's room and used a pillow from their bed (to kill them). That's why the cause of death was smothering. After I left Cece's room, then I climbed back in bed with Shanann and our argument ensued. After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I'm not sure how they woke back up, but they did. Bella's eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries.

3) The reason the medical examiner found oxycodone in Shanann's system is because I gave it to her. I thought it would be easier to be with Nichol if Shanann wasn't pregnant.

I don't know if this was a spiritual visit, but I had a dream Cece was dancing next to the chair in my cell. When she was dancing, all of my folders on the chair started moving and I thought she was in trouble, so I said watch out, get away, watch out! Then I woke up. I'm hoping she comes back! I hope everyone comes to visit me. I'm trying to see if I can clear my head better before I go to sleep to help.

I like that John 10:10 passage you sent. I wish I could've had an open ear to hear the Lord calling me back in June/July/August. If we run after sin, we won't hear our Shepherd calling us. I couldn't discern between the good spirits and the evil spirits and that eventually lodged me into a deep pit I couldn't climb back out of.

Take care and God Bless!

Chris