Assignment 2

Assignment 2: Constitutional Rights Anitra McKnight Professor Ronnie V. Collins CRJ 325: Criminal Procedure December 13 th , 2020
The criminal case that I am writing about is that of Chris Watts. On August 13, Chris Watts killed his pregnant wife Shanann Watts who was also pregnant with their third child, and his two daughters 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella. Prior to the killings, Shanann noticed that her husband was becoming more and more distant in their marriage and she wanted to work on the marriage and try to save it. Shanann had returned home from a business trip and she had a fight with Chris. That fight led to Chris strangling his wife and smothering his two daughters to death. In June of 2018, Shanann surprised her husband that they were pregnant again who seemed to be excited. That same month, Chris started seeing a coworker named Nichol Kessinger and she became the mistress of Chris. Chris finally told Nichol that he was married and had kids and was planning to leave her. According to text messages in July 2018, tension is present in the marriage. In that same month, Chris and Nichol went on a date to a car museum where Shanann called her husband several times with no answer. In July 2018, Chris joins his family in North Carolina for the final week of their vacation and it was not a pleasant reunion. On August 9, Shanann went on a business trip and returned home on August 13, at 1: 48 a.m. Surveillance from a neighbor's camera shows her coming home at that time. In the early morning hours, the couple gets into an argument because Shanann accuses her husband of cheating and that led him to strangling her. The fight gets loud and Bella enters the bedroom where she sees her dad wrap her mother's body in a sheet and drags her body out to his truck. Chris takes his two daughters and his wife's dead body and drives to the oil site where he worked. Once he gets there, he puts her body into a shallow grave and then proceeds to smother both of his daughters with a blanket and drops their lifeless bodies into two separate oil tanks. One of Shanann's friends, Nickole reported her friend missing and found it strange that her car was in the garage and was not answering the door. Chris told the police that his wife was with a
friend with the two girls. A neighbor invited Chris and the police to look at surveillance which shows that Chris is telling a lie that his wife is with her friend. Chris gives a new conference begging for his wife and children to come back home. August 2018, Chris fails a lie detector test and admits to killing his wife and burying her in a shallow grave at an oil site. All the bodies were found in August 2018. November 2018, Chris was charged with nine counts against him and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. When it comes to the four elements, the first one would be affirmation that took place when the friend called in a missing person's report stating that her friend was missing and wanted the police to do a wellness check. The second element the evidence that was found linking the accused. That evidence would be the security footage that was seen on the neighbor's camera that was inconclusive with the accused story. The third element is the warrant that was issued to search the home, his truck, cell phones, etc. The fourth element is the actual arrest of Chris Watts. The four elements for a search and seizure with a warrant is the issuance of a warrant by a judge, the second is probable cause, the third is particularity and the fourth is the property and items to be searched. In this case there was a warrantless arrest affidavit issued for Chris's arrest. With this warrantless arrest affidavit, law enforcement pretty much had free reign to pursue with charges against Mr. Watts. The plain view doctrine is a doctrine that allows law enforcement to seize items that are not a part of the search warrant, however if it is something that is in plain view and related to the criminal activity and there is probable cause, then those items may be seized. One of the things that relates to this case is the cell phone of the wife that was found in the loft outside of the bedrooms. The cell phone was in plain view on the sofa and Chris gave permission for the officers to look through the phone and the officers took the phone as evidence and hoped that it
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