TV & Movies

American Murder Explores How Parents Can Forgive Their Kids For Deadly Crimes

"The Bible says if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us."

Netflix's new documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door takes a look at one of the most shocking true crime cases of 2018 — the murder of Shannan Watts and her two children, Bella and Celeste. Watts and her children were murdered at the hands of her husband, Chris Watts. But initially, Chris maintained his innocence — only changing his story during a pivotal moment in the investigation. As Oxygen reports, Chris' father, Ronnie, met with him at the police station where he persuaded Chris to come clean. The conversation is featured in American Murder, but what the doc doesn't shed light on is what Ronnie Watts is doing now.

In November 2018, a week after Chris took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to all three murders, Cindy and Ronnie Watts spoke with ABC11 news to defend their son. Ronnie said, "It boils down to: I just want the truth of what really happened. If he did it all, I can live with it. If he didn't, I want him to fight for it." He later added that he believed Chris' initial confession, saying, "The story he told me that night, I believed it: The way he looked at me, the way he was crying, I believed it."

For context, in Chris' confession to his father he alleged that he only murdered Shannan after she killed their daughters herself, according to Oxygen. Chris later recanted this confession, taking responsibility for all three murders, which he discusses in the documentary. Days later, Ronnie and Cindy appeared at Chris' sentencing, expressing their love for Chris. According to People, Ronnie said, "The Bible says if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us. Chris, I forgive you and your sister forgives you and we will never abandon you."

Most recently, Ronnie returned to the news cycle after the FBI's report on Chris was made public in March 2019. In it, Chris discusses his family life and his psyche in attempt to understand what went led to this tragic murder.