Netflix recently released the documentary “American Murder: The Neighbor Next Door.” 

Christopher Watts murdered his wife, Shanann Watts, and his daughters, four-year-old Bella Watts and three-year-old Celeste Watts, in their home in August 2018. 

He then drove their bodies to a remote oil-storage site where he worked. Shanann was buried in a shallow grave and Bella and Celeste were hidden in oil tanks.

You might already be familiar with these 2018 crimes, but the documentary offers real footage of the family before and after the crimes, which took place in Colorado. 

In the documentary, the audience sees home movies, recordings from law enforcement, text messages and social media posts all concerning the murders. 

These glimpses into the lives of Christopher, Shanann, Bella and Celeste make the story that much more sinister. 

The text messages shown throughout the documentary help paint the picture of an unhappy marriage that was struggling to stay afloat. 

Additional focal points the documentary included were the facts that Shanann was pregnant at the time of her murder and Christopher Watts was having an affair. 

Christopher Watts was involved with Nichol Kessinger before the murders, and it was not until she saw it on the news that Kessinger knew about Shanann’s pregnancy. 

According to an NBC News article by Elisha Fieldstadt, Kessinger cooperated fully with the police but was concerned that her private messages, web searches and photos would be uncovered by the media. 

Although the documentary did not focus on Kessinger, I found her side of the story very interesting, as she did not see any red flags about Christopher leading up to the murders. 

Christopher Watts pleaded guilty to the murders on Nov. 6, 2018. 

After he was sentenced to five life sentences without the possibility of parole, he also received additional time for the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy and three charges of tampering with a deceased body. 

The argument was made that he wanted to start a new life with Kessinger and that is what led to the murders. After disposing of the bodies, he called the daughters’ school to unenroll them, a real estate agent to begin the process of selling the house he and his family lived in and texted Kessinger about their future plans.

The most shocking account from the documentary was when Christopher Watts talks about his daughters’ deaths. The voice recording of his confession is absolutely chilling.

Near the end of the documentary when Christopher Watts is being sentenced, his mother and Shanann’s mother take the floor in the courtroom. His mother, Cindy Watts, says she forgives her son for his crimes. 

Judge Marcelo Kopcow said, “This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases that I have seen.”

Overall, the documentary helps create a solid overview of these murders and the footage was interesting to watch. 

I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in true crime, but let me assure you, it will still

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