Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his pregnant wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls.

The judge said in an order Friday he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job, KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported.

Autopsies were completed Friday on Shanann Watts, 34, and her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. The cause of their deaths has not been made public. The motion seeking the DNA samples from the girls' necks suggested that they may have been strangled.

RELATED: Shanann Watts and her two daughters disappeared in Colorado

63 PHOTOS
Shanann Watts and her two daughters killed in Colorado
See Gallery
Shanann Watts and her two daughters killed in Colorado
A photograph sits amid the tributes as they grow outside the home where a pregnant woman, Shanann Watts, and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband, Christopher Watts, has been arrested on suspicion of killing his family. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Christopher Watts, 33, arrested on suspicion of murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters, in Frederick, Colorado, U.S., is shown in this handout photo provided August 16, 2018. Weld County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
GREELEY, CO - AUGUST 21: Frank Rzucek the father of Shanann Watts was in court for Christopher Watts arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in Greeley, Colorado. Christopher Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife Shanann and his two young daughters, 4-year-old Bella, and 3-year-old Celeste. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
This photo combo of images provided by The Colorado Bureau of Investigation shows, from left, Bella Watts, Celeste Watts and Shanann Watts. The Frederick Police Department said Chris Watts was taken into custody. Watt's pregnant wife, 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste were reported missing Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. The police said on Twitter early Thursday that Chris Watts will be held at the Weld County Jail. He has not yet been charged. (The Colorado Bureau of Investigation via AP)
Photo: Facebook
GREELEY, CO - AUGUST 21: Frank Rzucek the father of Shanann Watts was in court for Christopher Watts arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in Greeley, Colorado. Christopher Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife Shanann and his two young daughters, 4-year-old Bella, and 3-year-old Celeste. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Photo: Facebook
Christopher Watts is escorted into the courtroom before his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Greeley, Colo. Watts, of Colorado, whose wife and daughters disappeared this week was arrested on suspicion of killing them. (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)
FREDERICK, CO - AUGUST 16: Terry Warren, of Frederick, taks a moment at a makeshift memorial to Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts, who have been missing since Monday, is seen outside the family home on August 16, 2018 in Frederick, Colorado. Frederick police have arrested Shananns husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
GREELEY, CO - AUGUST 21: Frank Rzucek the father of Shanann Watts, left, and her brother Frankie Rzucek were in court for Christopher Watts arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on August 21, 2018 in Greeley, Colorado. Christopher Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife Shanann and his two young daughters, 4-year-old Bella, and 3-year-old Celeste. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Photo: Facebook
Judge Marcelo A. Kopcow speaks to the attorneys during the bond hearing for Christopher Watts at the Weld County Courthouse Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Greeley, Colo. Watts, of Colorado, whose wife and daughters disappeared this week was arrested on suspicion of killing them. (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)
Photo: Facebook
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke waits for the bond hearing for Christopher Watts to begin at Weld County Courthouse Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Greeley, Colo. A judge has ordered Watts of Colorado who is accused of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters held in jail without bail. (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)
Baltasar Gutierrez, left, joins his daughter, Irene Montoya, in talking to reporters after they left a tributes outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
From left, 4-year-old Liberty Bell joins her mother, Ashley, and father Steven as they put a tribute with others outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
FREDERICK, CO - AUGUST 16: Frederick Police Department Chief Todd Norris talks to media on August 16, 2018 in Frederick, Colorado. Frederick police have arrested Shananns husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Photo: Facebook
FREDERICK, CO - AUGUST 16: Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director John Camper talks to media on August 16, 2018 in Frederick , Colorado. Frederick police have arrested Shananns husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Photo: Facebook
Ashley Bell places flowers with the growing number of tributes outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
FREDERICK, CO - AUGUST 16: Colleen Hendrickson and her grandson Ezra Reed, 3, who lives down the street, place flowers at a makeshift memorial to Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts, who have been missing since Monday, outside the family home on August 16, 2018 in Frederick, Colorado. Frederick police have arrested Shananns husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Photo: Facebook
Christopher Watts glances back at a Weld County Sheriff's Deputy as he is escorted out of the courtroom at the Weld County Courthouse Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Greeley, Colo. Watts, of Colorado, whose wife and daughters disappeared this week was arrested on suspicion of killing them. (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)
Photo: Facebook
A pump jack sits near the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
Tributes grow outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
Tributes grow outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Ashley Bell reacts after leaving flowers among the tributes growing outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
A photograph sits amid the tributes as they grow outside the home where a pregnant woman, Shanann Watts, and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband, Christopher Watts, has been arrested on suspicion of killing his family. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Tributes grow outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Tributes grow outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Irene Montoya of Aurora, Colo., places a bouquet of flowers as tributes grow outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Bella goes Zip Lining today on Field Trip! 😱 Celeste’s pigtails 😂😂😂
Picked up this cutie from school for mommy/daughter lunch. She was excited to tell her daddy all about it.
My sweet princess! I love her so much. She went with me this morning to Rise and Thrive and we had a blast!
These two little girls are my world! I love them so much, even when they drive me crazy! Tomorrow is the last day Celeste is in 2yr old PreSchool and Bella is in PreK 1. Growing up so fast.
Happy Husband Appreciation Day! I couldn’t imagine a better man for us. You spoil us with love an attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house. 🤣🤣 You Work so hard everyday to provide for us. I love you so much and so grateful you hung around when I tried pushing you away in the beginning! 🤣🤣 #HappyHusbandappreciationday
Ashley Bell, left, is consoled by her husband, Steven, and 4-year-old daughter Liberty as the woman places a tribute outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Wind 💨 Be Crazy 😜 today! #colorado #windblownhair #windy #beautiful #crazy
My world and heart all wrapped up in this photo! . . . . #myworld #myheart #myloves #love #chris #age33 #celeste #age2 #bella #age4 #family #mygirls #instagram #instaphoto #instapic #spring #colorado
I love this man more than words can say! He’s my Rock, my love, my biggest fan, supporter and my husband! I couldn’t of hand picked a better man to call my husband and father to our girls! He dreams Big with me, he runs hard with me and he is just flat out friggin awesome! I love you Chris so much! Happy Valentines Day! #8yearsandcounting #love #valentinesday #myman #mylove #forever #sappy
Kids are napping, now it’s time for me to brace myself for a Costco Run! 😜😎🤪 thank goodness we Thrive! 🙌🏽Mood Support is being tested this week! Who’s kiddos still nap? 😴 #naptime #thrive #sickkids #christmas #busy #love
Love my snuggles! #rarewithcece #wild #fearless #fulloflove #fulloflife #loveher #daughter #blessed
FREDERICK, CO - AUGUST 16: Neighbors, who did not want to give names, bring a stuffed dog to a makeshift memorial to Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts, who have been missing since Monday, is seen outside the family home on August 16, 2018 in Frederick , Colorado. Frederick police have arrested Shananns husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Photo: Facebook
An unidentified young boy places a bouquet of flowers on a pile of tributes outside the home where a pregnant woman and her two daughters lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband has been arrested in the disappearance of the woman and children. Authorities say that they have found the woman's body and believe to know the whereabouts of the two girls. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Christopher Watts looks down during his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Greeley, Colo. Watts, of Colorado, whose wife and daughters disappeared this week was arrested on suspicion of killing them. (Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool)
A photograph sits amid the tributes as they grow outside the home where a pregnant woman, Shanann Watts, and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste, lived Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Frederick, Colo. The woman's husband, Christopher Watts, has been arrested on suspicion of killing his family. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Police arrested Chris Watts, 33, late Wednesday on suspicion of killing his wife and children. Their bodies were found on Thursday on property owned by Andarko Petroleum, one of Colorado's largest oil and gas drillers, where Watts worked as an operator. Court documents filed by defense lawyer James Merson said the girls had been submerged in crude oil for four days.

Weld County prosecutors said Watts was jailed in protective custody and that charges were expected to be filed on Monday.

Outside the family's home in Frederick, north of Denver, a memorial of stuffed animals, balloons, flowers and messages grew and a candlelight vigil drew dozens of people Friday night.

"This is to celebrate, mourn and get closure for a family that didn't deserve this," said vigil organizer Kelley Trippy. "This is a horrible, horrible, horrible story. It's affected us all whether you do know them or don't know them."

Christine Gentert said a prayer, adding that she wanted Shanann Watts to be remembered for her smile and her love for others.

"I don't want the horror to replace how beautiful she was," Gentert said.

Ashley Bell, a friend of Shanann Watts, said Shanann had planned a party Saturday to reveal the gender of her baby. Frankie Rzucek said his sister planned to name her baby boy Niko.

Read Full Story