Christopher Watts was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the murders of his pregnant wife and their two daughters, the AP reports. Watts, who initially said it was a "nightmare" when his family was reported missing in mid-August and pleaded for their safe return, was quickly arrested. He initially said that after telling his wife, Shanann, that he wanted to separate, she killed their daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, and he killed her in a rage. But investigators never believed him, and he ultimately pleaded guilty to all three murders. "You monster. You thought you would get away with this," Watts' father-in-law said at the sentencing hearing, per the Denver Post. "You carried them out of the house like trash. You buried my daughter Shannan and Nico [the couple's unborn baby boy] in a shallow grave and then you put Bella and CeCe in containers of crude oil."
"This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime I have handled out the thousands of cases I have seen," said the judge before delivering the sentence. Watts, 33, pleaded guilty to avoid a death sentence; he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for each of the murders plus 48 years for unlawful termination of a pregnancy and 12 years for tampering with the bodies, the Greeley Tribune reports. His parents also spoke at the hearing, telling him they forgave him but struggled to understand what he had done. "We still don’t have the answers," said a statement from Watts' father, read by his attorney. "I hope one day, Christopher, you can help us." Watts' own attorney described him as "devastated" and "sincerely sorry." (The woman Watts was dating when he murdered his family says he lied about everything.)