The Home Front: Death penalty for Chris Watts? If Weld County’s DA makes the call, ‘a jury could decide’

“If the Weld County District Attorney makes the call, a jury could decide if the Colorado man accused of killing his pregnant wife and two daughters faces the death penalty if convicted of the crimes,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Christopher Watts, 33, is accused of killing his wife, 34-year-old Shanann, and daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. He has been formally charged with nine felonies: three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree murder of a person under the age of 12 while being in a position of trust, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased body.”

“At 80 and 83, respectively, Steamboat Springs residents Elaine and Win Dermody defy their age in physical appearance, spirit and spunk and active lifestyle,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “From retirees skiing to ranchers wrangling well into their golden years, the Yampa Valley is home to a significant percentage of actively aging people. According to a senior population trends analysis published by Newgeogrphy in February, Steamboat Springs ranked first in the nation when it came to the biggest gains in its senior population, which increased nearly 80 percent from 2010 to 2016. So with our population graying at such a fast rate, what is the secret to living a long and healthy life?”

“The former owner of Waterfowl Haven Outfitters faces probation after being convicted earlier this year of menacing, a class-five felony,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Jim Arnold, now 39, was sentenced in Weld District Court on Wednesday. He was charged with two counts of menacing in May 2017 after shooting at hunters near his property east of Kersey and yelling racial slurs at them in April 2017. After about an hour and a half of deliberation, Judge Timothy Kerns sentenced Arnold to three years of supervised probation, saying he cannot possess a firearm or have access to one.”

“Beckie Diehl paused this week during a walk across a field close to the rim of the Book Cliffs overlooking Grand Junction and kicked a foot toward a lone, sprouting tuft of grass,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “‘There is virtually no grass out here,’ she said, the small green growth only accentuating the brown, barren conditions surrounding it.”

“Longmont’s City Council has endorsed several proposed revisions to the city Fair Campaign Practices Act’s contribution and spending reporting requirements,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “One of the changes, recommended by City Clerk Valeria Skitt after the council called on her to review the current campaign reporting code, would remove the current requirement that candidates for mayor or council seats file electioneering reports — documents they now must file whenever they incur a cumulative expense of $250 or more for campaign-related materials such as flyers, stickers, handouts, banners, mailings and advertising. That requirement resulted in $16,000 in total fines imposed on Sarah Levison for four violations in missing deadlines for filing electioneering reports during her unsuccessful 2017 mayoral campaign.”

“In Summit County, it’s hard to miss the forest for the trees when half the trees are dead,” reports Summit Daily. “The mountain pine beetle outbreak devastated pine forests in the High Country and across North America the past couple of decades, with ashen-grey blight running through forests all over North and Central Colorado. Back in 2007, a study was done in nine communities — Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne, Granby, Kremmling, Steamboat Springs, Vail and Walden — to explore resident’s perceptions of the forest, attitudes toward forest management and changes in behavior influenced by the beetle outbreak.”

“The hard-fought battle to put increased setbacks for new oil and gas drilling on the ballot has succeeded. Now, the fight for votes begins between environmentalists who want oil and gas wells farther away from occupied buildings and Colorado’s influential petroleum lobby, which has warned that mandatory minimum 2,500-foot setbacks would devastate the state’s oil and natural gas industry,” reports The Denver Post on the front page of today’s Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The proposed setback is an increase from current limits of 500 feet for homes and 1,000 feet for schools. The organizers for Initiative 97 submitted 172,834 signatures. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said Wednesday that the initiative has qualified for the ballot with an estimated 123,195 valid signatures based on a random sample reviewed.”

“New Eagle County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlos Ramirez was shopping at Costco in Gypsum the other night when he ran into a group of teachers getting ready for the school year, which kicks off next week,” reports Vail Daily. ‘They were shopping for their classroom supplies. A teacher had a big bundle of tissue for her class,” Ramirez said. “It’s just astounding to me that Colorado educators have been able to do the work that’s needed with the (current) amount of funding. They’re at a point where they’ve squeezed every ounce of energy they have to provide the resources and services our kids need.'”

“New information about the criminal charges against a former investigator in the Pueblo District Attorney’s office shows he allegedly was part of a nationwide bookmaking ring and using the office to help run the illegal gambling,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The information is in the indictment against Charles ‘Chuck’ Widup, which lists 21 counts of 8 state laws he is accused of violating. Widup was deputy chief investigator in the DA’s office during the period of the alleged crimes: June 1, 2016, until July 5, 2017. The Pueblo Chieftain obtained a copy of the 11-page indictment Wednesday. It had been under seal since January, when a grand jury issued it.”

“An attorney for a consortium of groups opposed to the United States Fish and Wildlife opening the Rock Flats National Wildlife Refuge to the public sent a letter to the agency on Monday demanding it close the refuge because at least one entrance has improper signs,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “[You’re] agency’s failure to comply with the Signage Plans and (National Environmental Protection Act) demonstrates your continuing inattention to legal requirements regarding the Refuge, and a carelessness that does the public a grave disservice,” attorney Randal Weiner wrote in a demand letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dated Monday.”

“As Richard Krochta headed to the Cripple Creek Gold Mine before dawn Wednesday, he noticed smoke rising along U.S. 24,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Backing up the company tractor-trailer he drives for Savage Services, he saw what was causing it: a sport utility vehicle that caught fire after going off the road and crashing into a tree a few miles west of the Teller County town . ‘I grabbed my fire extinguisher and called 911 right away, then started spraying the fire,’ said Krochta.”

“There is a new face at the forefront of City Hall. Cindy Foster Owens was sworn in as Cañon City’s new city clerk during the Aug. 20 city council meeting,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “I think the opportunity to be City Clerk is a chance to work in a capacity to make a positive impact on the community that I am proud to be a part,” Foster Owens said. “Helping address the challenges that our community faces is something that I look forward to.” Foster Owens is a fourth generation Coloradoan. She was born and raised in Fremont County, and she graduated from Florence High School in 1989.”

“Darlene Apodaca’s two young granddaughters didn’t go to school Wednesday,” reports The Denver Post. “With a 9-year-old boy from Denver’s Shoemaker Elementary School dying by suicide last week, and Tuesday’s shooting outside the DSST Cole Middle School that her granddaughters attend, Apodaca said it was all too much. “They weren’t up for it,” Apodaca said. “And neither was I. It’s only two weeks in, and I’m terrified.” A day after the shooting outside Cole left a juvenile male in critical condition, a person was stabbed a couple of blocks away, prompting the DSST campus — which houses middle, high and elementary schools — to go on lockout. Unlike the day before, when parents sobbed outside not knowing whether their children were safe because school officials hadn’t contacted them, Denver Public Schools notified families about Wednesday’s police activity.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.


  1. • Cops handcuffing & detaining Journalists.
    • Cop biker gangs engaging in shootings & stabbings with rival motorcycle gangs.
    • DA employees engaging in racketeering, corruption, and other charges.
    • Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, and other church “leaders” engaging in criminal activity.
    • Presidents, Congress people, Mayors, Legislators, Council members engaging in unethical behaviors and criminal activity.
    • FBI, CIA, NSA, and other government agencies acting in wholly corrupt, even criminal manners.
    • Corporate Executives are leading the charge of unsustainable greed, total selfishness, and criminal acts.

    This is why the public’s trust in institutions is at an all time low.

    “A staggering lack of confidence in leadership: 71% of survey respondents said government officials are not at all or somewhat credible…”
    -The Edelman Trust Barometer-

    Those public institutions, which are supposed to lead and instill values of ethics, morality, confidecne and trust upon the public, are completely failing.

    Humans are so insecure. Most can only find personal relevence and self-worth through wealth, material goods, status, and power.

    Those truly pure at heart, mind, and soul are often ignored. Those seeking to help others through selfless deeds are tarunted.

    Humans are judged most solely on the amount of capital they move in their lifetimes, and specifically that they move/divert towards the ultra-wealthy.
    Power is their reward for doing so.

    The Philosophical Principle of Universalism.
    Everyone, before taking any action, or making any judgement or moral or ethical decision, should ask themselves “what would happen if everyone did the same as I, would society sustain such acts?”.

    Everyone needs to start critically evaluating their own place and actions in the universe first.

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