A Colorado man who gained national headlines for being found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters says he's found God while serving his life sentence.
Christopher Watts was found guilty last year of strangling his wife, Shanann, and smothering his two daughters, Bella and Celeste. He was sentenced to life without parole.
Watts subsequently had 48 years added to his life sentence for terminating his wife’s pregnancy, as well as 36 years for other criminal activities connected to the murders, according to the Coloradoan.
Recently, Watts was interviewed by investigators at a federal prison where he's serving his sentence. Content from that interview was published by the Insider earlier this month.
“I never knew I could have a relationship with God like I do now ... it's like the amazing grace with all of this, but I just wish nobody had to pay any kind of price for this,” explained Watts, as reported by the Insider.
“There was this one church service — the only one I've gone to in here — and [the pastor] said you're not defined by one moment in your life. And I think people are defining me by one moment in my life. They don't know what happened before and what can happen later.”
Watts explained that he reads his Bible frequently. He also keeps a photo of his wife and daughters, which he reads scripture to. He also copies passages and sends them to his parents.
Pastor John Piper of DesiringGod.org was asked by a listener named Stephanie — who identified herself as a mother and elementary school teacher — to comment on Watts' reported transformation in prison.
“After following the news closely, back when he was originally suspected of this heinous crime, my reaction to his so-called ‘finding God’ was anger,” she said.
“Is it wrong for me to not want this man, who committed unspeakable acts, to know my Jesus? Do you believe someone like him can truly repent and enter the Kingdom of God?”
In a response posted to DesiringGod’s website on Wednesday, Piper said he considered it a “weighty” issue because “it deals not only with the moral reality of whether someone who has done something so horrific can ever be forgiven, but also deals with how we should feel about it.”
“The Lord also says, ‘”Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord’ (Romans 12:19). You don’t need to take it up and bear that burden,” said Piper.
“It’s right for Stephanie to care about justice being done in this universe. It is right that she doesn’t want anything being swept under the rug and people getting away with murder, as we might say.”
But Piper further explained that “God is free to be gracious to whom he will be gracious, and to give them anything he chooses,” referencing Luke 23 when Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with him in Paradise.
“This means that an entire lifetime of sinning and stealing from others, and probably worse, can be forgiven one hour before you die,” continued Piper.
“So here’s the key question: Am I more indignant that a murderer may be saved and go to Heaven than I am amazed that I might be saved and go to Heaven?”