Chris Watts Prison Confession, Part 1
For the past year, I have been working as a transcriptionist, for clients like The New York Times, podcasters, cardiologists, documentarians — you name it. When I learned Chris Watts’ five-hour interview was available to the public due to Colorado laws, I wanted to take the time to transcribe it myself because this case intrigues me and I’ve seen how inaccurate transcriptions result in faulty reporting.
The players are as follows: Tammy Lee is a CBI Agent and the one who administered the disastrous polygraph to Chris. Grahm Coder is an FBI Special Agent, and Dave Baumhover is a Detective with the Frederick Police Department.
At times, it was hard to discern between Grahm and Dave because of the poor quality of the audio in this first part, so I indicated when they speak by tagging them Grahm/Dave.
If you’d like to jump to specific sections, I’ve linked them here for you:
- How the Relationship with Nikki Started
- The Early Days with Shanann
- It was Different with Nikki
- What was going through Chris’s Head Regarding Nikki
- Killing Shanann
- Nut Gate: The Final Straw
- Possible Motives for Killing Shannan
- Bella Enters the Room
- Bella and CeCe
- Chris’s Reaction to Pregnancy Announcement
- Discussion about the Energy Patch
- A Future with Nikki?
- Chris’s Dad, Ronnie Watts
- The Last Time Chris Communicated with Nikki
- On Pleading Guilty
- Chris’s Visit to North Carolina
- What Chris’s Parents Think
- Chris’s Dad’s Drug Addiction
- Chris’s Childhood/Background
There’s a lot of small-talk here that I’ve cut out. Chris had no idea they were coming; he just knew that he had a pass to be in that computer room for the day.
Grahm/Dave: So, you remember, I talked to you, Tammy talked to you, Dave talked to you. We’re all from Colorado. And so, the last time we talked to you, it was a different situation, right? Our investigation was open, and your case was open and that’s completely different now. So, your case is completely closed. Nothing about what we’re going to talk about today has anything to do with an open investigation. So, we’re not here to get more charges on you or get any statements from you that are going to jam you up anymore. That’s all done. All of our cases are closed, and the court case is closed, so there’s nothing that we’re going to talk about today that’s going to get you into any type of more trouble at all. And so, I wanted to make sure you knew that’s not why we’re here.
Grahm/Dave: But why we are here – so, the three of us work from three different agencies, quite a bit different. CBI, FBI, and Frederick, different goals. The things that happened with you kind of brought us together and as the months have passed on, since everything happened, we just keep in touch with each other and we keep talking to each other and we’ve all separately kind of said, “Did Chris seem unique to you?” And me and Tammy have talked about that statement, Dave and I’ve talked about this. “Did Chris’s situation seem different to you?” And we keep having that conversation and we can’t quite put our finger on it, right? We think that your life leading up to all of the things that happened were very interesting to us and for me, personally, I don’t know if you remember, but one of the last things you told me was, “Hey, Grahm/Dave, I’m sorry that I started lying to you.” And that stuck with me for the last couple of months. It was ringing in my head, right? I’ve never ever worked a case like this where someone told me that – never. And so, as I walked away, I thought, “Chris is different. Chris a little bit unique in that regard.” In talking with Tammy and in talking with Dave, I said, “What did you feel like when it all went down? When we were there, and we were talking to you guys?” And we all kind of, in our own different way and in our own different wording said, “It all happened a bit too quick for us.”
So, when we saw you last, you were talking and talking and talking about your family, about your parents, about everyone and then the next thing you know, for me and Tammy and for Dave, all of the sudden, some patrol officers came in and arrested you. And that was far quicker than we had hoped it would happen. And you understand why that happened and we understand why that happened, but it left us with a thousand questions that we didn’t get to ask. And then even more importantly, I think it probably left you with a thousand things that you didn’t get to talk about with us. I don’t know if you feel that way or not. So, that’s why we’re here today.
We wanted to kind of talk to you a little bit more about everything. I think there’s a lot of things that you didn’t get to talk about and so, you know, that’s why we’re here. And it sticks with me that to this day, there’s not one person that’s told me, “I saw it coming. I knew Chris was like that, I knew it.” Not one person. So, it’s interesting to me, right? You know, not one. So, we want to talk a little bit about that. Some of the people that we work with, your family, Shanann’s family have said, “If you get to talk to Chris, would tell him some things for me?” So, we have that to talk about today and it’s good. I think you’ll like it. I think it will give you some closure. And so, really, that’s why we’re here. Are you available to talk to us?
Chris: Yeah, definitely.
Grahm/Dave: So, off the bat, if you have any questions, just tell us. If there’s something that you don’t want to talk about, that’s okay. We might press you a little bit. We might say, “Do you mind if we just ask one question?” If something makes you uncomfortable, just tell us. If you need to take any bathroom breaks, you can take bathroom breaks. And we’ll take bathroom breaks and water breaks ourselves too. So, then is there anything about your schedule today that makes it that you can’t talk to us?
Grahm/Dave: So, in general, how is it here?
Chris: It’s a lot different than Colorado.
Grahm/Dave: Good or bad?
Chris: Here, I’m actually around other people. I mean, in Colorado, it was just like I was segregated and there was like pounding on the walls or night, screaming and just —
Grahm/Dave: From other people?
Chris: Oh yeah. Everybody was telling like how I should kill myself and like what they’re going to do to me and just like all that kind of stuff. This is a lot different because, I mean, people here seem to – it’s not like they don’t care, but it’s just kind of like, they don’t judge you as soon as you walk in. Colorado, they knew why I was there and that was it. If they had one second alone with me, it would have been… They had to lock down the jail for me to walk down the hallway.
Grahm/Dave: So, we have a thousand questions; I’m sure you do too. Do you care if we start or do you have any questions for us? So, one of the things that we’re battling with is – I won’t make any assumptions today, so are you aware that this was a national story?
Chris: After a little while, I was. I didn’t talk to my parents when I was in Colorado because, I mean, my attorney told me no phone calls, no letters, no nothing. So, like, I made one phone call and that was in the segregation area there, but my dad thought it was somebody like the news —
Tammy: So, he didn’t answer?
Chris: Yeah, so he didn’t answer. But other than that, I didn’t talk to anybody but from what some of the deputies were saying that or my attorney kept coming in saying, “You know, they’ve got people from Australia, England – all kinds of people trying to figure out what’s going on.”
Grahm/Dave: Did they send you any of the letters? Like family or anything?
Regarding people who came out of the woodwork to say they had sex with him.
Chris: I got letters, but I couldn’t keep them with me. So, like, I could read them on my hour out, but I’ve got a bunch of letters that have no return address and stuff that was just, not very good letters.
Grahm/Dave: They came from a weird perspective, didn’t they? From what we have heard.
Chris: Definitely. There was one person, I guess, from [Broomfield 00:10:07] that was like writing me like four times a week trying to come visit me and then there were just a lot of people like writing that was like [inaudible 00:10:14] markers saying, “You’re a monster,” all kinds of stuff.
Grahm/Dave: We’re going to talk about some hard issues today, but I don’t intend to take you to a dark place today. I hope that when we’re done, you’ll feel better. I hope it’ll be therapeutic. We’re going to talk about, obviously, what happened with your family and so that’s going to be hard to talk about. I appreciate anything you can tell me about it. If you need to take time out, or if you need to get a tissue, that’s fine. I think it’ll be very good for you, it’ll be good for us. And so, one of the reasons about that national attention is we were aware that you were getting a lot letters, a lot of interest and then, us, personally, as law enforcement, we got so many people who claimed to have known you, claimed to have been with you, dated you, slept with you and 99 times out of 100, they were just crazy people. And so, maybe that’s a good place to start.
Had you heard about any of that?
Chris: John. Well, she told me about one, some dude from Wyoming.
Chris: Yeah, that guy. That blew my mind. I was like, “Who is this guy?”
Grahm/Dave: And who told you about him?
Chris: My attorney, John Walsh.
Grahm/Dave: Do you mind if we talk about him?
Tammy: Grahm and I interviewed him.
Chris: You had to?
Grahm/Dave: A waste of our lives.
Grahm/Dave: In summary, Trent came in and said he met you online on a dating app, had a few casual but quick sexual encounters with and let me be very clear, not only are we not here to jam you up today, we’re also not here to judge you and if there is anything like that, you can imagine we’ve heard way worse, way different. If it’s true, I hope that you can just casually say, “Yeah, this happened. It wasn’t as bad as he said.”
His story was met online, met you, and it was a time when you were experimenting with men. And so, he said, you met a couple of times, met his friends, went to an apartment, had a couple of meetings in a parking lot and then that was basically it. Any of that sound familiar?
Chris: No, I’ve never met the guy.
Tammy: And he talked about being in your truck with your girls, like the whole nine yards.
Chris: No, I’ve never even been to Wyoming, let alone, driven up there to see somebody.
Grahm/Dave: And so, this is maybe a weird question for you, do you have any gay experience?
Grahm/Dave: Any interest?
Grahm/Dave: Ever had a time, experimented? Wondered?
Grahm/Dave: Is it possible he found you instead of you finding him?
Chris: From what John told me, he found me on like a Whatsapp? I don’t even have that app. I never even heard of the app. Apparently, he told me I met him through a rehab center or something.
Grahm/Dave: Is that what he said?
Tammy: No, that was another guy.
Chris: It was totally —
Tammy: So, did you see a picture of him on the news or anything?
Chris: John showed me a picture of him. I was like, “This guy?” John was kind of making fun of like, “Yellow shirt?” I’m like, “No.”
Tammy: So, you saw it and you were like, “No way.”
Chris: Yeah, I was just like —
Tammy: Big lips, did you see his giant lips?
Chris: Yeah, I was just like, I have no clue, this guy.
Grahm/Dave: And he’s somewhat memorable. If you met him or talked to him or got to him, you might remember. He was kind of meek but also a little bit flamboyant. He did injections. He was very into skin care and makeup and he mentioned that one of the times, just as a gift, you got him some skincare products. Any of that sound familiar?
Grahm/Dave: Okay. You can imagine all the stuff we’re dealing with. Okay, so that’s one. There was another gal that you were dealing with.
Dave: Amanda McMahon? Have you ever heard that name? No.
Chris: John showed me a picture of her.
Tammy: Oh, you did see a picture of her too?
Chris: Yeah, he had like – that’s the same picture he showed me. I was like, “Who’s that?” He’s like, “You don’t know her either?” I was like, “No.” He said it was like a Chik-Fil-A parking lot rendezvous or something.
Dave: That’s what she’s claiming.
Grahm/Dave: Right, and that’s just not true?
Chris: I only went to one Chik-Fil-A in Colorado and that was the one in Broomfield on Highway 7.
Grahm/Dave: Do you feel comfortable enough today to tell us if there were other people?
Chris: Yeah, it was just Nicole.
Grahm/Dave: And that was it? As these people have come out, for the most part, we’ve not given their stories much credit; they’re just crazy people who want attention. But when that does happen, it does make us think, you know, there may have been others. And so, Nicole was the only one?
Chris: That was the only one.
Grahm/Dave: Was there ever like a one-night stand with someone else just out of the blue, one and done?
How the Relationship with Nikki Started
Grahm/Dave: Do you mind if we talk a little bit more about Nicole?
Chris: That’s fine.
Grahm/Dave: Walk me through it because that was one of the things we never really got to ask you about.
Tammy: Right, we didn’t talk much about that.
Grahm/Dave: We just kind of skipped on and talked about where the girls were. So, what happened there?
Chris: It was probably around June 1st or something, that’s when I first met her. And it was just like a work conversation. She messed with the gas meters, you know, when we were out in the field. And then I was messing up and then I took it her, like, “I don’t know what’s going on with this. How do I fix it?” After that, you know, we just ran into each other a few times in the office and I think it was probably the fourth time meeting, she had asked because when we were talking back and forth, I would say, you know, like, “We moved here from North Carolina,” and stuff like that. And she was like, “What’s all this we stuff?” I took out my phone and showed her a picture of my girls on the phone. She was like, “Oh, okay.” I didn’t wear a ring to work because I’ve got to send it off to get it refitted when I lost all the weight.
Grahm/Dave: You lost so much weight, that your fingers lost weight?
Chris: I was out in the snow one time, I went like that, my ring went off on the rocks. So, I was panicking trying to find it. So, after that, she left me alone for a couple of days. And she texted me outside the field and then after that, we just kept texting back and forth it was just, you know, just like, she used to work in an oil rig out in North Dakota, I think, and we were just kind of trading stories back and forth about what we did and everything. And then one day, it just kind of went to a different level. And then – I never thought it would go to that level. But she was talking about meeting up after we got back from San Diego.
Grahm/Dave: You and Shanann?
Chris: Yeah, we were in San Diego from the 22nd to the 26th of June. And we met up after we got back.
Tammy: How did you guys meet up?
Chris: At a park in Thornton somewhere. And after that, we just kept seeing each other, pretty much the whole month of July.
Grahm/Dave: So, let me ask you this. You tell me if I’m wrong. You strike me as somewhat of a shy person. When you guys were meeting, was it kind of very initiatory like flirting at first? Okay. From both sides?
Chris: Yeah. It was just kind of like, feeling each other out.
Grahm/Dave: And so, texts and calls?
Chris: More near the end of June.
Grahm/Dave: And what makes you remember that it’s June that it happened?
Chris: Because we called each other right before I left to go to San Diego.
Grahm/Dave: Okay. At first, did you think something might happen?
Chris: I just thought it was flirting. I didn’t think it was actually like something that would actually happen.
Grahm/Dave: Well, it’s totally naturally, right? I mean, everyone kind of flirts at work, right? Because the relationship between men and women is different, so if you’re working with a girl at work, it’s just kind of natural to flirt. I get it.
Chris: I wish I was out in the field more, so out of the office.
Grahm/Dave: I kind of see it in your eyes. That’s kind of where the path started, isn’t it?
Chris: Yeah, I mean, if I was – because when I went from a rover to a field coordinator, I would spend more time in the office trying to get everything situated, where we’re going to go and everything like that. If I was rover, I’d be more out in the field, instead of like coming to the office for more than an hour, getting even more time to run into her pretty much.
Grahm/Dave: What did she know about you? Did she know you were married at first?
Chris: She did once I showed her the pictures on my phone. You know the home screen picture and everything?
Tammy: Was your wife in that picture or was it just your girls?
Chris: It was just my girls right there, but my wife was like the lock screen. So, she knew I was married and had kids.
Tammy: Are you aware that she said she didn’t know you were married. What did you think about that?
Chris: I figured she was trying to save face, trying to – something my sister said, it was like, she was trying to keep things together. She phrased it a different way, but just kind of like, ground control, just trying to control everything that’s going on around her because I’m sure she got bombarded by all kind of different sides from the media and everything.
Tammy: Have you talked to her at all? No.
Chris: No. I’m hoping she hasn’t like, written me in a different alias or something, I’m not talking to her that way.
Grahm/Dave: And are you not allowed to talk to her?
Chris: I would hope not.
Grahm/Dave: No one told you that though?
Chris: No, I mean, I would expect, I thought Colorado had sent like a EOC list, if you’re like on a victim list, you can’t call anybody. But here, I’m not sure if that’s the same. I just talk to my sister, my parents, some friends of my parents.
Tammy: Do you wish you could talk to her?
Chris: Maybe once just to —
Tammy: Just to get some closure?
Chris: Just to say, “Hey, you know,” just once. Just to say, “Hey, I’m sorry this all happened. I’m sorry. I’m not sure what happened afterwards, like what you went through. If you have counseling, if you’re in a different state, if you had to leave everything behind. I just wanted to let you know I’m sorry. It’s not something I ever saw in my life happening.”
Grahm/Dave: Would you be all right if we told her that?
Chris: That’s fine.
Grahm/Dave: Do want us to, do you want us not to?
Chris: And if she would want to even talk to you guys. I’m not sure. I’m sure she’d answer your phone call more than an attorney phone call that she didn’t want to answer.
Tammy: So, your attorney tried to call her, and she wouldn’t answer?
Chris: Yeah. Because I remember her phone number but after that, they figured out, I guess, where she lived. They left a business card there. Pretty much after like the fifth attempt, they said she said, “Stop coming around.”
Tammy: Yeah, I’m sure she’s getting bombarded like everyone else.
Chris: And hopefully it’s calmed down since. I’m sure – I just hope she can – and that there’s normalcy for her since she’s on the outside, but I’m hoping it can get that way at some time. I’m not sure if she had to leave Colorado or not, but I’m sure like it had to have been hard if she did. Anadarko was her dream job, so that’s one thing I always asked my attorneys is like, “Did she have to leave? Did she have to do anything at work?” That was one thing because she always told me that was her dream job.
Grahm/Dave: Oh really?
Grahm/Dave: What does she mean?
Chris: Like an oil company at Anadarko is like, I mean, unless you’re working at BP or [inaudible 00:22:42] or something. And Anadarko is like —
Grahm/Dave: Big leagues?
Grahm/Dave: Can I ask you a tough question? Did you love her?
Chris: I felt like it was true.
Grahm/Dave: I think so too. I think it was the same from her. Tell us about the time you spent with her.
The Early Days with Shanann
Chris: I mean, it felt like it was, you know, I think when you said it was more like a [inaudible 00:23:18], it was kind of like, I’ve never been pursued by anybody before. I was the one trying to purse. Because when me and Shanann met, it was like she was always pushing me away, kind of.
Grahm/Dave: She was sick for a while, right?
Chris: Yeah, she had just got diagnosed with lupus and she was on a bunch of different medications and stuff. I guess I wasn’t her type.
Grahm/Dave: You weren’t her type?
Chris: I wasn’t her type. She told me back she first —
Grahm/Dave: She told you that?
Tammy: I remember you telling me that.
Chris: When we first met, it was at a movie theater. My cousin’s ex-wife set us up.
Tammy: You were dressed like shit, weren’t you? That’s what you told me.
Chris: Yeah, I didn’t know that —
Grahm/Dave: Didn’t have any game?
Tammy: So, she was fancy, and he was in shorts and tennis shoes, right?
Chris: I should have known – the doorman was in a suit and I was just like, “This isn’t good.”
Tammy: It was a fancy theater, right?
Chris: It was in Charlotte. It was called the Epicenter and apparently, they give you champagne and all kinds of stuff.
Grahm/Dave: Oh, this is a fancy date night theater. Movie theater?
Tammy: I think he came like he was going to a Cinemax.
Chris: Like I was going to a bonfire or something. You watch a normal movie, but drink champagne and like have Jack and Coke inside the theater and just sit there and whatever. When she first saw me, she was like, “I should probably just turn and talk to the bartender a little more.” I was persistent trying to pursue her because I liked her. Even on our first date, I couldn’t even eat anything really, I was just like —
Grahm/Dave: Because you were so nervous?
Chris: Yeah. She was just like chowing down. She was like, “You eat like a bird.” And she talked to my parents months later, she was like, “This guy just never ate.” And they were like, “This guy eats like a trash disposal.” And she was like, “Not around me.” I was so nervous. I was always like shaking and everything. I was always pursuing her and finally, I just grew onto her, like with her medications and stuff – she had like eight bottles of medication – so, I would always get her day and nights and put them all in that little flip open —
Grahm/Dave: Pill box.
Chris: — yeah, all that kind of stuff. And I would always be around her. I even went to her colonoscopy. And she said after that, she knew I was kind of a keeper. It’s like, who goes to a colonoscopy after two months with somebody.
Tammy: That’s a little soon.
Chris: Well, she needed a ride. She was like, “You want to go to a colonoscopy with me?” I’m like, “Sure, why not?” I even sat with her while she drank that nasty stuff all day.
Grahm/Dave: That’s a good test.
Tammy: Where she’s in the bathroom all night?
Chris: That clear stuff that doesn’t really taste clear. It felt a great – it was a great relationship; everything was great.
Grahm/Dave: Are you talking about with Kessinger?
Chris: No, talking with Shanann and like the first year. And my parents never – I don’t know – my mom was always kind of hesitant?
Chris: I was the baby, I guess. I never, you know, plus I never had a girlfriend in high school, so it was kind of like, she never really saw me —
Grahm/Dave: Oh, interesting. So, she’s watching her baby walk out a little bit.
Chris: When I turned 18 and I graduated, I never moved back, lived at home. My sister moved back and forth.
Grahm/Dave: How old were you when you met Shanann?
Chris: I was 25. It was 2010.
Tammy: So, no serious girlfriends before that?
Chris: Nothing more than like six months or so. There were some girls here and there, but just nothing worth like – the last girlfriend I had before Shanann, she just actually got divorced and I should never have done that. It was more of like, I was kind of like helping her getting through her divorce, it seemed like. She went off with somebody else. I’m like, “Oh. That’s nice to know.”
Grahm/Dave: You’re the rebound guy?
Chris: Pretty much. That’s how it goes.
Grahm/Dave: Would you say that in your relationships with women, it seems to me – and you tell me if I’m wrong – it seems to me like you’re attracted to maybe more a dominant personality?
Chris: It seems like it because I’ve been more of the – just reserved. I just kind of like go with the flow. Shanann usually made all of the decisions, it seemed like.
Grahm/Dave: I get that. I’m the same. I don’t know what it is.
Tammy: I don’t think that’s right with you, but.
Grahm/Dave: I know it’s hard to keep bouncing back and forth – one of the reasons we’re here is we just keep telling ourselves, “Chris just does not fit the mold.” It just blows us away what happened. And so, we will do a little bit of bouncing back and forth and that’s really just to get to know you a little bit better because we never really got that chance, did we?
Chris: I’ve met you twice. I’ve met you once. Probably like three – met her three or four times, probably.
It was Different with Nikki
Grahm/Dave: So, then with – do you call her Nikki or Nichol Kessinger?
Chris: I would call her Nikki. There’s so many Nikki’s and Nichol’s in this.
Grahm/Dave: So, we’ll call her Nikki. With Nikki, was it different?
Chris: It just seemed like I was more in control it seemed like. That never happened. Like she actually asked me my opinion on a lot of things, just like what I wanted to do.
Grahm/Dave: That was new, wasn’t it?
Chris: Very new.
Grahm/Dave: That’s fascinating to me. Did it feel more like an equal partnership?
Chris: It seemed like it.
Grahm/Dave: When it was date night, would you guys talk about it? Would you ask to go somewhere, or would she say, I want to go somewhere?
Chris: The first time we went out, it was to a movie over at the Orchard, on 144th over there. And I asked her, “You want to go see this movie?” And she’s like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “Okay, cool.” When we got there, it was sold out. Normally, we probably just wait two hours or just go home, but she just wanted to walk around and talk. I was like, “Okay.” That was different. She wanted to go to the car museum, Shelby museum in Boulder. I’ve never been there.
Grahm/Dave: That’s right up your alley.
Chris: Oh yeah. I was just like, that was awesome just to walk around cars for an hour or so. And then drag race in [inaudible 00:30:18]. I hadn’t been to a drag race since 2008 and that was in Charlotte because they have a drag strip over there just like for the NHRA, the top [inaudible 00:30:32], stuff like me and my dad used to go there all the time. And then, we went camping in Sand Dunes [inaudible 00:30:43] Park and I had never been camping; I’d always wanted to do it. She had done it, like countless times, I guess.
Grahm/Dave: She’s outdoorsy?
Chris: Yes. Every time she would need to clear her head, she would just go by herself.
Grahm/Dave: She’s a completely new type of person and relationship.
What was going through Chris’s head regarding Nikki
Grahm/Dave: What were you thinking this whole time?
Chris: In the back of my head, I was telling myself, “What are you doing?” Every time I would open up my phone, I could see pictures of my wife and my kids and I’m just like, “What am I doing?” And then every time I was with her, it seemed like I didn’t think. It seemed like there was a blinder in my face. Every time I look back on it, like I have pictures of my wife and kids and myself because every night or every morning, every night, talk to them, say like, like I have this book – I used to read for CeCe and I remember that book, so I read that to them every night and there’s some scripture and stuff that I read to them, so I just try to, you know, I just try to think back. Like, I wish none of this had ever happened. I wish that blinder wasn’t on my head, right in front of my eyes and I would have seen what was going on, like, you know, I was having – everybody said, “Oh, you’re just out there having fun while your kids and wife are on vacation.” I’m just like, “No, it wasn’t like that.” But that’s what it looked like when you’re going to camping, going to a drag race – all of the other stuff that you had fun doing but you’re with somebody else, it’s not your family. It just didn’t seem right. You know, I was with her, it didn’t seem like I’d even see that anymore. I was at her house pretty much every night. It was like I didn’t have that time at home just to really think about anything. Because, literally, like I was only at home from like when I got home from work, I worked out, I ate dinner and then I went over to her house. Like I was never – I never slept in my house like the whole month of July.
Grahm/Dave: Talk me through that though. When you said you went home and then you were at her house, was that while Shanann was gone?
Grahm/Dave: So, you weren’t even at your house?
Grahm/Dave: This all happened so quickly, didn’t it?
Chris: It did. It was insanely quick. She even told me she would never, like a normal relationship, she would never have somebody over at her house more than once or twice a week, but she felt like she wanted me over there. She said she felt comfortable with me over there. So, it was just like that’s what was different. She wanted me over there. I just wish that all of that would just go away. I just wish I had, almost like I – I know it’s hard to, I know it’s wrong to say I wish I never met somebody. But I wish I’d maybe met her at work and then just kept it that way.
Grahm/Dave: I think if we had a time machine, I don’t think this would happen again because some people, when this happens, you’re like, well, if it wasn’t this time, it would have been next time, or it would have been the next time. This just wouldn’t have happened with you, would it?
Grahm/Dave: It happened so quickly that – you tell me if I’m wrong – you’re not the type of guy to take control sometimes when you need to.
Grahm/Dave: It seems like that’s just what happened.
Chris: Yeah, I didn’t take control of the situation. It’s like the situation was controlling me.
Grahm/Dave: Right, it just happened. I get that, man. I’m somewhat passive myself and it’s like, you know, there’s situations where I’m like, “Why did I let that keep going?”
Chris: Yeah. I don’t know why, it was like a roller coaster ride that I just kept punching the ticket on – just never getting off.
Grahm/Dave: Can we talk about the hardest subject? So, when we were talking, the last time we talked, the last thing we talked about was where the girls were, but we never really got to talk about that night. So, what happened?
Chris: So, nothing really happened that night; it was in the morning. You know, me and Shanann, she got home at 2:00 and I felt her get in the bed. I just felt like I didn’t really – I made sure I looked at my phone and it was 2:00; I made sure she was actually in there. And I could kind of feel her kind of stirring around a little bit. I just had a feeling like she knew, like, what was going on because, I mean, obviously, I had an Anadarko gift card, you know, that I had gotten, and I used my actual credit card and I kind of felt like something, she knew what was going on. She started rubbing her hand on me and we ended up having sex. I guess that was more like a test. I would have thought.
Grahm/Dave: Oh? Interesting.
Chris: Yeah, because when we talked, when I woke up later on in the morning, like, I pretty much told her, I didn’t think it was going to work anymore. And she was like, “What happened? What was last night?” I figured that was a test after I had gone through everything in my head.
Grahm/Dave: That makes sense.
Chris: And she just told me to get off of her. And she was like, “I knew there was somebody else. I knew there was somebody else. I knew there was somebody else.” I couldn’t just say, “Yes, there is somebody else.” But then she said, “You’re never going to see the kids again. You’re never going to see them again. Get off me. Don’t hurt the baby.” Because when I climbed in bed, I was pretty much like on top, pretty much straddling her. She thought I was going to hurt her or hurt the baby or something. Because she knew that something had happened, so thought I was just trying to check out something. And that’s when that happened.
Grahm/Dave: I know it’s hard. But do you mind if we talk just a tiny bit deeper about that. So, she comes home, you know, she touches you and you guys have sex; it seems like she’s doing her test, which I understand. It sounds like you did too.
Chris: I’m sure that Nikole Atkinson or Cassy probably told her —
Grahm/Dave: That’s what I was thinking. They talked about it during that whole weekend.
Chris: More than likely. My parents told me there was – going through text messages, it’s like pretty much, they all kind of told her he’s with somebody else.
Grahm/Dave: And she had spent a lot of time with the gals and that’s what they did probably all weekend is talk about it, give her advice. I think that’s what we found. So, she comes home, you guys have sex, and then did you fall asleep between then and going to work?
Grahm/Dave: So then, at some point, does she wake you up? Or did you wake up for work?
Chris: Our alarm.
Grahm/Dave: And you were going to work out? But then that’s when she started talking, wanted to talk more. She was pretty mad?
Chris: Yeah, she – I mean, it was. I already kind of knew that, you know, using that credit card was going, it was —
Grahm/Dave: Was that intentional?
Chris: I had no other way to do it. Because I used Anadarko gift cards from doing stuff at work and stuff like that. I used them all.
Grahm/Dave: Was part of you, like, “Screw it. Whatever, I don’t care. I’m using this card.”
Chris: Part of me just wanted to say, “Nikki, can you pay for this?” I just, I don’t know. Even, I think, my attorney said, she even noticed I used a different card, like a blue card. Maybe she thought, you know, I felt comfortable enough just using a normal bank account or something. I told her I was going to a Rockies game and I told you I was to [inaudible 00:39:19]. It felt like – looking back at everything, just like reading the scripture more and more, I can see, God gave me opportunities to get out. Even my friend, Jeremy, he even invited me because it was his daughter that came and watched the kids on that Saturday night and he was like, “Hey, [inaudible 00:39:41] going to a Rockies game? You want to go with me to the Bronco game and watch the Arizona –?” In my mind, it was like, go. Just say, “I can’t find a babysitter.”
Grahm/Dave: To Nikki?
Chris: Yeah. And maybe that would have been like, a light switch in my head goes off, a light switch in her head goes off, maybe it just goes in different directions. That was my opportunity to get out, it seems like. I wish I would have just said, “Yeah, let’s go.” I think that would have just put me on a different trajectory.
Grahm/Dave: So then, Shanann, did she actually say, you’re never going to see the kids again?
Chris: She said that to me before.
Grahm/Dave: Was that hard to hear?
Chris: Yeah, because she’d said that to me before she went to Arizona. Because like I wasn’t really sleeping in the bedroom; I was sleeping on the couch or in the basement or something and like she had [inaudible 00:40:40], “You’re never going to see the kids again.”
Grahm/Dave: Did she get fiery like that?
Chris: Only once in our entire relationship I’ve ever seen her that way.
Grahm/Dave: And that was the time before or was that on the night that it happened?
Chris: No, it was probably back in North Carolina. It was just a fiery argument; like I never raised my voice to her or anything. I just got mad and I slammed the door and she’s like, “Get out!” I’m like, “I shouldn’t have slammed the door.”
Grahm/Dave: Was that when you were in North Carolina that last week?
Chris: No, this was like 2010, 2011. It was like early, early in our old house.
Grahm/Dave: Before kids?
Grahm/Dave: Were you dating or were you married at that point?
Chris: Dating. I don’t even remember what it was about. I think some girl maybe texted me from my past or something and I was just like, “Who’s this?” and she was like, “Don’t have that happen again.” I was like, “I can’t have friends? Or females? I don’t even talk to this woman anymore.”
Grahm/Dave: Was she fiery? Did she have that Italian blood that her mom has?
Chris: Good Lord, yes.
Grahm/Dave: Was she always like that? Could she snap at things?
Chris: She would snap at me, but you could tell, if something really irked her a little bit, it would come out.
Grahm/Dave: Zero to 100 type thing or what?
Chris: Yeah, zero to 200. If she aggravated about something, she’s like, all right, this is going to happen.
Grahm/Dave: Well, that’s why she was probably so successful at Thrive, right?
Chris: Oh yeah. Like she had done a couple of other direct sales businesses, but this one was different.
Chris: This one, because I think she had done like Origami Owl and like something called It Works and then a couple of other things, some bags and stuff like that, but this supplement stuff, because it worked for her, it worked for me. She’s like “Okay, I can use this, like, this is what it’s doing for us.” And then, after a little while, she could see how people who were above her, how it was helping them and then it was just like a trickle-down effect. It was a good system, commission-wise and everything. She could use all the business IQ she has from running those cell phone shops and from the Dirty Sock Custom shops, all that. She’s business minded. She knows how to do an accounting book like the back of her hand. But it all just fell into place with all that.
Grahm/Dave: So, then on that night, was it just a new type of fight you never had or what? What happened?
Chris: Yeah, it was a totally different type of fight; it was like, it just felt like, I don’t know if it was more anger than anything else. Like, there was emotion to it at first and then it just felt like it was just anger. It was just like there was no love there. It was kind of like – we were saying what she was saying, it was just like, it was almost like we knew something was combatting at each other. We didn’t know, like, it wasn’t ourselves.
Nut Gate: The Final Straw
Grahm/Dave: Anger from you or anger from her?
Chris: I think it was more anger from me and more like desperation from her. She wanted to fix it because she knew. She knew something wasn’t right. You know like, when that whole thing with my parents happened, so what my parents called Nut Gate.
Grahm/Dave: What happened.
Chris: The peanut.
Grahm/Dave: Oh yeah. With her family?
Tammy: Pistachio ice cream or whatever it was?
Grahm/Dave: Nut Gate.
Tammy: I haven’t heard that.
Chris: I guess that’s what people are calling it. That was like another out, like maybe I could have just stopped everything with Vikki and just concentrated on helping whatever happened there. Shannan had a story; my mom had a story. Whatever happened. I probably asked my 10-year-old nephew, he could probably tell me what actually happened.
Grahm/Dave: Well, they both have their feelings for good reasons, and they don’t see it the other person’s way.
Chris: Yeah and like maybe – I didn’t talk to my parents from then on until like August 6th. My dad took that whole week off —
Grahm/Dave: You didn’t talk to your parents from then on?
Chris: Yeah. Because Shanann was like, “Do not talk to them. Do not call them. Do not do anything.”
Grahm/Dave: Is that what she said?
Chris: Yeah. And CeCe’s birthday was the 17th but I think the actual birthday party was a couple of days after.
Grahm/Dave: In August?
Chris: In July. My dad was going to go, but then there was a post on Facebook about allergies and stuff like that Shanann had made and my dad was like, “I just can’t do it anymore.”
Grahm/Dave: He perceived that as her taking a shot type thing?
Chris: Yeah. She always said she never, you know, put those posts directed at anybody. But I don’t know. She had a message.
Tammy: If you read them, you know who she’s talking about.
Chris: She had a method to the madness, and you could see it. I wish I could have just took more time just to fix that because I wanted my parents to be involved. Since the whole wedding thing and then up until that, it was like, my mom and my sister were always like combatting with Shanann and Shanann combatting with them; my dad was always cool. He’s just like me, he’s just like go with the flow, like I just want everybody to get along type deal.
Tammy: I loved your dad.
Grahm/Dave: He’s the best. I’m sorry, keep going.
Chris: When we were at the beach in August, my dad took the whole week off just so he could see the kids and see me and like have a cookout at my sister’s house or something. But we just pretty much spent five days at the beach and Shanann had booked it so like – I don’t want to say like punishment for them not to see the kids, but I wanted them to see them. I wish I could have fixed all that. Even like, when I was at the beach, I told Shanann that what was going on was more like — because my dad’s my hero — I feel I’ve lost something in my life. I hadn’t talked to him for three weeks and they hadn’t seen the kids for three weeks, Facetime or anything and I wanted them to be able to have that relationship. She was pretty much gung-ho, like, “She tried to kill my daughter by giving her [inaudible 00:47:34].” I was like, “I don’t think she gave it to her.”
Grahm/Dave: Was that her stance? Is that your mom –?
Chris: Put something in front of CeCe.
Tammy: Like to kill her?
Chris: Like, just like —
Grahm/Dave: Didn’t pay attention.
Chris: She thinks that allergies at this age, people think, “Awe, you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine, you’ll just have a rash. You’ll be fine.” I’ve seen CeCe, the first time, well, I’ve seen a picture when she had a cashew the first time; it wasn’t good. And then she had kiwi the second time and the same thing happened. I know it’s real. It wasn’t like her throat closed up, but she broke out in this full-body rash; it looked really crazy looking and luckily, nothing with her throat happened.
Tammy: Did that make you angry at your mom for doing that?
Chris: Yeah, I mean, I’m just like, “Mom, you just gotta,” I told her, “You need to think. You need to pay attention just because another kid can have something, it doesn’t mean the other kid can have something.” Because we were at that birthday party at Jeremy’s on that Sunday, you know, they had this cake there, like Bella wanted it so bad, I’m like, “I can’t give it to you because CeCe can’t have it,” and she was like, “Okay.” And all the other kids were like, “They can’t have the cake?” I just took them out and gave them one of those frozen pops. She had to learn that just because one kid could have something and there’s another that can’t have it for a legitimate reason, she shouldn’t have done it. That’s the kind of talk I had with her. Shanann had called me, I think it was maybe like the middle of July or something when she told me all this had happened. That’s when I called my mom and talked to them for a while and they’re just like, they just couldn’t deal with her anymore, Shanann, just kind of like, they flipped out after you told Bella to go hide behind the curtain because I don’t think your mom is ever going to let you come over here again or something like that.
Grahm/Dave: So, it got heated.
Chris: It was bad.
Chris: It was like a last straw between them, I think.
Grahm/Dave: In the same room or over the phone?
Chris: No, they were at the house, at my mom’s house.
Grahm/Dave: And so, they were really heated up.
Chris: Yeah, because CeCe and Bella and my niece and nephew were there.
Tammy: How did Shanann find out about the ice cream thing?
Chris: Because Shanann was there and, I guess, they were all sitting on those couches, it’s kind of like a U, and my niece went into the kitchen and she knew where the ice cream was, because she had been there.
Tammy: So, it’s not like your mom gave it to her. She got her own ice cream?
Chris: Yeah, she went in the freezer and got it, went out and sat beside CeCe and started eating. But it’s just a matter of like, CeCe could go like [inaudible 00:50:13], like that. All I know what happened is she just got it on her hand, but I know on like the prick test, on the back, there was like a welt.
Grahm/Dave: So, were they staying there at your parent’s house during that time?
Chris: Yeah, so they would go from Sandy and Frank’s house for a few days or five days and then go to my mom and dad’s house for a couple of days, back and forth.
Grahm/Dave: So, it happened during that time?
Grahm/Dave: There were so many things that happened, weren’t there? They just were little tiny ingredients to this recipe. It’s nuts, Chris, it’s just so many things just didn’t go your way.
Chris: Everything was like a – it’s like somebody was throwing a pot and it was just —
Possible Motives for Killing Shanann
Grahm/Dave: Exactly what it was like. I know I keep bringing it up, can you walk me through just the last few minutes before Shanann died?
Chris: It was pretty much just – I had gotten dressed for work and then we started talking.
Grahm/Dave: Did she come to you?
Chris: No, I was just right there in bed. Because I got my blue shirt on and my jeans and everything.
Grahm/Dave: You were ready to go.
Tammy: Was she asleep or did you have to wake her up to finish your conversation?
Chris: I had to wake her up because she got home at 2:00, so she was pretty much out of it. I never knew if her plane got delayed. Someone told me she just sat around with Nikole and just talked for a while and then came home. I’m not sure if that was true.
Grahm/Dave: It was delayed.
Chris: Yeah, she came home and everything. I woke her up to talk to her.
Grahm/Dave: And then is that because it was just eating at your brain?
Chris: Yeah, I knew like, something, like, something doesn’t feel right with me. I know she knew. I just think she knew. I just felt maybe the kids weren’t going to be there when I got home that day.
Grahm/Dave: Oh, interesting. I don’t mean to offend, but I have to ask is that really the truth?
Chris: I really felt like they weren’t going to be there when I got home that day.
Tammy: Like she would take them somewhere?
Chris: No, I just felt like, either maybe I wouldn’t go home, maybe they weren’t going to be there, or I wouldn’t be allowed in type of thing.
Tammy: I think I saw some text messages where Shanann talked about that she would take the kids to another state or something because she wouldn’t be able to afford to live in Colorado. Did she say that kind of stuff to you?
Tammy: What did she say about that?
Chris: She said she couldn’t afford to live in Colorado on her own. I told her, look, well, we could try because she pretty much makes the same amount I do. She said, she wouldn’t want to try just because Colorado, just the price of living there was a lot higher than North Carolina.
Tammy: Just so I’m clear, you thought maybe she, in your mind, you thought maybe she would take the kids somewhere else or lock you out of the house.
Chris: I wouldn’t want to make a scene, trying to pound on the door trying to get in or anything like that. I just felt like – what I did on Sunday or Saturday night was kind of like the last straw. Kind of like going out with somebody and using the [inaudible 00:53:33] account card and not trying to hide it at all.
Grahm/Dave: Walk me through it though because she comes home, she touches you, you guys have sex, you fall asleep, then you wake up for work all natural, a normal day’s work type thing.
Grahm/Dave: What was it that made you think, “I just can’t do this anymore? I have to talk to her?”
Chris: It was eating away at me. I knew like something – everything that I did, I know when I was with Nikki, it was different, like I wasn’t even in the realm of, “I’m a dad, I’m a husband” type thing. And then, like I was saying, when I’m never at home, like sleeping in my own bed and like I have no concept of that anymore —
Grahm/Dave: So, in your mind and heart, you’ve moved on.
Chris: It kind of felt like if I wasn’t at home, like I didn’t think about it almost, because if I wasn’t sleeping in my own bed – I think at one point, Nikki had gone to the mountains with her friends for a few days into June, first part of July and then like that part, obviously, I was at home. From that whole month of July on, it was like, I was never at home. I never had all those reminders around me. I never had, like every time my wife called me, I would be at Nikki’s house.
Grahm/Dave: While she was in North Carolina?
Chris: Yeah. And I would walk outside and talk to her when I was next to the car or something like that. I would never be at home and have all these pictures around me, just being in the same bed, seeing my kids’ beds, seeing everything that we’ve built for the past six years.
Grahm/Dave: Did you just want a once and for all, get it out in the open?
Chris: I just wanted to tell her how I was feeling at that point in time. I didn’t feel like me and her were compatible anymore. I don’t want to say it didn’t feel like that because of what was going on with Nikki, it was new. Anything that’s new always feels better than the old.
Tammy: You were probably bitten by the love bug. That’s how a lot of therapists talk about it.
Chris: Unfortunately. It was just like, I never felt that, I mean, even like with new relationships in the past, it always feels different the first couple of weeks and then, you know, but something with Nikki felt different, I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was just like you said, I was more in control and it was more of me coming out. Because Shanann always said it always seemed I was more myself around other people like her cousin, Cody. Cody came up and visited us for a little bit while we were in Colorado for a little while and Cody always talked about how, “Chris is so funny. Chris is like… ” Shanann would always like, “You’re never like that with me.” “Well maybe, I always felt nervous around you.”
Grahm/Dave: There’s only so much oxygen in the room, right? I say this to some people with dominant personalities.
Chris: I just always felt nervous. I always felt like – I never could actually just be myself. With Nikki, I was myself all the time, it was just different.
Grahm/Dave: Hard to talk about and you tell me if I’m wrong, but it also seems, is it accurate to say that sexually, you were able to say, “Nikki, this is what I would like? This is what I’m into?” and blah, blah, blah and maybe not with Shanann.
Chris: Nikki just wanted, I mean, she wanted what she wanted. She wanted to do it pretty much all the time and I was just like, “Okay, that’s fine with me.” And with Shanann, it was just like, kind of, “Hey.” Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t but that wasn’t the case as far as that way. It wasn’t just sex all the time. I was just more myself. I could just not think about what I was going to say or plan what I was going to say or, you know, say something stupid.
Grahm/Dave: A little bit of freedom.
Tammy: Can I ask you something about that morning that you had sex with Shanann? Did you feel at all like maybe you were kind of cheating on Nikki by doing that?
Chris: I felt strange. The first time I was with Nikki, I felt weird and then the last time I was with Shanann, I felt totally strange. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know who I had become. I felt like I’d become [inaudible 00:58:01] and that did not feel right with me. I didn’t know what had happened to me. Nikki even asked me, “Have you done this before?” I’m like, “I’d never even thought about it.” She was like, “What’s different?” I was like, “I guess it’s just you that’s different because I’ve never actually…” I’ve seen girls smile at me before, I’ve never done anything about it, with her it was just like, like she had a leash on me and she tugged me away as soon as she – I was like, what the heck is going on?
Grahm/Dave: And Tammy brings up a very good point. I wonder if that last time with Shanann having sex had somewhat of a role in you thinking, “I’ve got to do something; I’ve got to say something. We’ve got to have a talk. Something’s got to change.” Is that accurate?
Chris: Yeah, it felt like maybe it was a trigger point or something like you hit the push button on a bomb and it just blows up. Something in my head, there’s just like, something was irking, like I had to say something.
Grahm/Dave: Exactly what did you say and what happened?
Chris: When I woke her up and I was just like, “We’ve just got to talk.” I told her, “I don’t feel compatible. I don’t feel like this is going to work. I want to – can we cancel the trip to Aspen?” Because she had booked a trip that week to go to some mystery four-star luxury hotel or something.
Grahm/Dave: Just the two of you, or the whole family?
Chris: Just me and her. She had Amanda there to watch the kids that weekend or something. I was just like, “Can we cancel that? Can we do something?” From what I remember, I even said, “Can we move to Brighton?” Just to get away from this house. I’m not sure if that was like the beginning or the end of our other conversation or whatnot. That conversation went so many different ways. It had gone from staying together to not staying together to all the above.
Grahm/Dave: So, this is half an hour, an hour, what?
Chris: Definitely not more than half an hour. I don’t think.
Tammy: Are you crying, is she crying?
Chris: It’s back and forth. You know, she’s got mascara – she didn’t wash her face when she got home, so she had makeup on still, so her mascara was running all over her and stuff like that. And it was – nothing about that conversation – I just wish I could take all of it back, the whole thing back, everything, but.
Grahm/Dave: So, when did it turn?
Chris: As far as the conversation?
Chris: Just at the end when I was telling her, like, I told her I didn’t love her anymore and that’s when it happened.
Grahm/Dave: What happened?
Chris: She told me to get off of her and [inaudible 01:00:52].
Tammy: Didn’t you say she said something like you were hurting the baby or something?
Chris: That was before that because when I was straddling her, I was kind of like around her waist type deal.
Tammy: Why did you get on her like that?
Chris: When we get on the bed, that’s just the way I got on.
Grahm/Dave: Is that so she would listen to you?
Chris: I felt like she could probably listen to me just laying on the side, but I got on top of her and every time I think about it, I’m just like, “Did I know I was going to do that before I got on top of her?”
Grahm/Dave: Really? That’s an interesting thought, Chris. You don’t know if you knew.
Chris: It’s just like, you know, everything that happened that morning, I don’t know, like, I try to go back in my head and I’m just like, I didn’t want to do this, but I did it. Because everything just kind of like —
Tammy: Felt like you had to?
Chris: It just felt like it was – I don’t even want to say it felt like I had to, it just felt like there was already something in my mind that was implanted that I was going to do it and I woke up that morning and it was going to happen and I had no control of it.
Grahm/Dave: You never thought about it before?
Chris: It was just like, I don’t want – like in the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor said, it takes two to four minutes for something like that to happen. Why couldn’t I just let go?
Dave: Was it feeling like it was in motion and you just couldn’t stop it?
Chris: Yeah, I don’t even want to know what she saw when she looked back at me, honestly.
Tammy: Did you look at her? What was she doing?
Chris: She wasn’t fighting.
Tammy: Why do you think she wasn’t fighting?
Chris: I don’t know, maybe she was praying. I read the bible, it said, you know, the scripture says, “Forgive these people for they do not know what they do.” Maybe she was saying that. I don’t know what she was saying in her head. Like when you guys told me, “Take off your shirt” and start checking for defensive wounds, there wasn’t going to be any. She didn’t fight. I don’t know why.
Tammy: Could she grab your arms or were her arms pinned down?
Chris: Not that I remember, I don’t think so. I don’t think I moved to where my knees were around her arms or anything. It was just kind of like when I got on top of her, we started talking and that was it. It’s kind of like in my head or like in the back of my head, that was going to happen and just like at the end of the conversation, it was just like, that’s what happened. I just wish I could have let go.
Tammy: Did it seem like it was that long? Two to four minutes? How long did it seem for you?
Chris: It almost kind of felt like it was, like it was longer almost, because it felt like time was standing still. It’s kind of like I just saw my life disappearing from my eyes, but I just couldn’t let go, it was like somebody else – like if you picture somebody else around you, holding your hands, holding you, keeping you from not letting go.
Grahm/Dave: At some point there was a statement about rage. Did you feel like you were in a rage at that point?
Chris: That’s the only way I can describe it, honestly. Like I just snapped or something. I guess my attorney had said strangulation is more of like a passionate type thing. I’m just like, I don’t know how that could be passionate.
Tammy: It’s just intimate because you’re right in there using your own hands. It’s a lot different than someone standing across the room and you shooting them or something like that.
Chris: It just felt like somebody was like behind me, just like [inaudible 01:05:00], I just couldn’t let go.
Grahm/Dave: It’s interesting to me because there were a lot of things in your life that were like that, right? Where you’re just like, maybe felt out of control or maybe felt like, “I don’t know why I couldn’t take a step back?” Like when you said when your buddy was like, “Let’s go to the football game,” you wanted to say yes, you just couldn’t.
Chris: I wanted to, and I hadn’t been to a football game since North Carolina, so I was just like, “Yeah, sure.” I wanted to say that. I wanted to just text him and be like, you know, “Babysitter fell through, can’t go.”
Grahm/Dave: Then what?
Chris: After Shanann was, once that was – once she was gone it was just like, I didn’t know what was going on and it was just like, it was like a traumatic, I don’t know what you call it, traumatic event type because everything had like – I was shaking, I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what I had done. I still wasn’t in that right state of mind. Like I wasn’t in control of what I could think or what I could do at that point in time. And most people say like, why didn’t you just call 911? I was like, unless you’re in that situation, you don’t know what you would have done. It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback.
Grahm/Dave: I agree with that.
Chris: And you said, if somebody shoots somebody, you don’t what’s going through their mind at that point in time. You don’t know what you’ve done.
Grahm/Dave: So, what happened next?
Bella Enters the Room
Chris: Bella came in the room.
Grahm/Dave: Is that what happened? Bella came in? What did she say?
Chris: “What’s wrong with Mommy?”
Grahm/Dave: Did she hear something?
Chris: Obviously, I think.
Grahm/Dave: Did that happen with Bella right in that room?
Chris: Not [inaudible 01:07:27].
Grahm/Dave: What happened?
Chris: She just, she walked in as, you know, she thought she was sleeping.
Grahm/Dave: Did you take her back to her room?
Chris: I put Shanann in that sheet and [inaudible 01:07:47].
Grahm/Dave: And then what?
Chris: I carried her downstairs and backed my truck up.
Grahm/Dave: At that point, were the girls still there? Okay. So, Shanann’s in the truck. And you went back into the house?
Chris: I carried everybody in the truck.
Grahm/Dave: Was Bella first or was CeCe first?
Chris: In the truck?
Grahm/Dave: I’m sorry. So, Shanann was first. And then Bella was next? Was Bella alive when you guys got in the truck? Oh, okay. What happened?
Chris: I went back up. I don’t want to talk about this part. Those are my kids – [inaudible 01:08:49] have to talk to them every night. I don’t see how this could have happened. Every time I see pictures of them, I don’t know how this could have happened. Being a dad was the best part of my life; I took it all away.
Tammy: I think that’s the hardest part for us, Chris, is we see those videos. We see that love that you had for your girls. It’s obvious to us and even to us, it’s hard for us to understand how a dad’s who’s given piggyback rides and making snacks and watching princess movies. How do you get to that point?
Chris: Like I said, it was just like something else was controlling me that day and I had no control over what I was – like to fight back. Like when that prosecutor said that Bella bit her tongue, like repeatedly, I just, I just wanted to bang my head up against the wall.
Tammy: So, you put Shanann in the truck and then you put the two girls in the truck? Were they just sitting in their car seats? Or, I guess they didn’t probably have car seats in your truck, did they?
Chris: No. They were sitting in the back, in that bench seat.
Tammy: So, Shanann was back there too?
Chris: Just on the floor.
Tammy: What did they say about Shanann being on the floor?
Chris: “Is Mommy okay?”
Tammy: What did you tell them?
Chris: “She’ll be fine.”
Tammy: Did you have their stuff with them? Like their toys and their blankets and stuff?
Chris: They had something with them that they carried. One of them had like a – CeCe and Bella had like a blanket or something with them, like a pink blanket or —
Tammy: What about the dog, I think one of them had a dog, right? That talked?
Chris: Yeah, one of them had like a little barking dog.
Tammy: Was that with you too?
Chris: I think it was. I was trying to – it’s hard to remember like if they had like big blanket, a small blanket.
Regarding the gas can
Tammy: I think I saw on the video that you put a gas can or something in the back of your truck, is that right?
Tammy: Did you have different plans when you put that in there?
Chris: I don’t know what was going through my head. I feel like maybe I can just get rid of myself at the same time if I was doing all of this, honestly.
Grahm/Dave: Did you think about that?
Tammy: What did you think about that?
Chris: I didn’t feel like I deserved to live after what happened.
Grahm/Dave: Was there any thought to the whole family going away that day to include you?
Chris: After everything, that was a definite thought.
Grahm/Dave: It’s interesting to me – we had all kind of wondered if there was a point when you were all together, if you were all going to pass together. That, to me, makes sense. Even though it sounds crazy, that’s what a family man does, right?
Chris: A family man doesn’t do what I did.
Grahm/Dave: No, I know. I guess what I mean is it seems like you guys were going to be together forever in that way? Is that what was maybe going through your head?
Chris: Honestly, I just felt like I didn’t deserve to live. It was like whatever judgment I was going to come upon myself, you know, I just didn’t deserve it anymore after what happened.
Tammy: So, what made you not do that?
Chris: I don’t know if it was just more of – because with the site maybe it was just more of like, I would have hurt more people than just me and everybody else. I know there’s other people out there, not like at the site, but other people maybe out in the area. I didn’t something on the site to catch fire and blow up and other people around would get hurt.
Tammy: So, you were thinking initially about starting a fire out there or an explosion or something?
Chris: No, not for that, but just like, maybe I could take care of myself. Gasoline, that’s the only thing, I mean, I don’t have a gun, I don’t have anything like that. I just like, just commit suicide that way.
Grahm/Dave: So, just to blow yourself up or what?
Chris: I wasn’t thinking. I mean, I don’t have weapons. I’ve never hunted before in my life. Nothing was right that morning.
Tammy: I remember you kept telling me that. You kept saying, “I didn’t know what I was doing, Tammy. I didn’t know.”
Chris: Like when you asked me about the sheet, like, “What were you doing?” Like, I don’t know what I was doing.
The 45-minute Ride to the Site
Tammy: I think you were just like in automatic mode it seemed like. So, did you drive straight out there? So, what were you thinking on the way out there?
Chris: Kind of like what I’m doing right now, I’m just like, you know, nervous, shaking, not knowing what’s going to happen. Like my life has completely changed, I don’t know what’s happening. Honestly, I try to picture that whole ride – it’s like 45 minutes to an hour ride out there – and it’s just like, couldn’t I have like saved my girls’ life? Couldn’t I have done something? Why did I do that? I don’t know. Like, this is my flesh and blood. This is like what I wanted all my life was to be a dad, just to have kids, they love me, all that, kind of just nothing made sense. Like the oil tank, nothing made sense. I’m just like, “What the hell am I doing?”
Bella and CeCe
Tammy: So, what happened when you got out there?
Chris: I took Shanann out just to a place off to the site. And then —
Tammy: What were the girls doing when you were doing that?
Chris: Just sitting in the back of the truck.
Tammy: And then what happened after that?
Chris: CeCe was first. She did have a blanket. She had a blue blanket. A Yankees blanket.
Tammy: So, was she alive when she went into the oil tank? No?
Chris: No. I put the blanket over her head.
Grahm/Dave: And that’s how she passed?
Chris: I put the blanket over head, I didn’t want to… I strangled her right there in the back seat.
Tammy: What was Bella doing?
Chris: She was sitting right beside her.
Grahm/Dave: Did she understand, did she know what was going on?
Chris: She didn’t say anything.
Grahm/Dave: And then the same for Bella? Just without a blanket?
Chris: With the blanket. I didn’t look, like every time I close my eyes, I just hear her saying, “Daddy, no” and that was it.
Grahm/Dave: That’s what Bella said?
Chris: I hear that every day.
Grahm/Dave: Do you really? Are you sorry, man?
Chris: Sorry doesn’t take anything back that I did.
Grahm/Dave: I know. Is it possible that in your mind you didn’t want them to suffer throughout their life? Was this like a mercy killing?
Chris: I mean, you could say that like after the fact, but it was just like, I don’t —
Tammy: You didn’t feel like that during it?
Chris: That didn’t feel like it was just anger with Shanann, with everything, that I was taking it out on everybody that was in front of me that morning. I mean, the kids growing up without their parents, depending on what grandparents or whoever they grew up with seem to be fine, but it was just like, it was an anger thing. It was just like —
Tammy: And what were you so angry at Shanann about? Like if you could pinpoint it?
Chris: Nothing that, nothing that makes anybody want to do this. You could be angry at your spouse your whole life, but you should never have done anything like this. You should never let it get to that point. But I let it get to a point where I never, I mean, I’ve never been angry before and this is like the epitome of being angry, the epitome of like showing a rage, the epitome of like losing your mind. And even like some people in here said, they were like, “What the heck happened? You must have frickin’ snapped.” I just walk away. It’s like, you know, I don’t see it in my mind, how it could have like, you know, I look outside every day, I’m like, “What could we be doing right now?” Right now, I’d have a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and, more than likely, a one-month-old son and a beautiful wife. And it’s just like, right now, it’s just me.
Chris’s Reaction to Pregnancy Announcement
Tammy: I watched that video of you finding out that Shanann was pregnant. You don’t seem excited, you seem like kind of in shock.
Tammy: Like, “Oh fuck!” Like it’s already complicated and now this.
Chris: When we had talked about it like a couple of weeks before – it happened fast. Like with Bella, it was like, we almost gave up trying. And then she bought me like a super-charger for my car. And then with CeCe, it was like, we had to try, try, try and then finally, but with Nico, it was, you know, once or twice, and then like two weeks later, she’s pregnant.
Grahm/Dave: Is that what happened?
Chris: Yes. It was more like surprise hearing it, and like, “Wait, what?” We just talked about this. And people have brought up the fact like, “Oh, she was probably pregnant before, like you guys talked about it.” I’m just like, “No.” It was insanely fast. That’s the only reason I ever gave that notion even a moment of thought because it was like faster than any other time that she had gotten pregnant.
Tammy: You just didn’t seem happy.
Chris: I don’t remember the video much. I know she was wearing like a, “Oops, we did again” shirt, I think. And I was walking in with my cooler or something and I don’t remember like my actual reaction watching the video, but like I could see like, it didn’t seem like he was jumping for joy type thing.
Tammy: Yeah, it didn’t seem like that.
Chris: Did you watch the one when I found out about CeCe?
Tammy: Uh-uh. Is it totally different?
Chris: Yeah, it was – because Bella was in the crib and it had an eviction notice on the [crosstalk 01:21:50].
Tammy: I think you told me about it, yeah. I never saw it though.
Chris: Yeah, I picked up Bella and spun her around and whatnot. This time it was just me and Shanann and she was in the kitchen. And I was like, I forget what date it was, maybe like June 3rd or 5th or – I’m not sure what day the video was. Maybe I already felt guilty about talking to Nikki at work. Maybe that was going through my head.
Grahm/Dave: Is that the potential timing? Does that make sense? Okay.
Chris: I don’t remember what date the video was, but I knew I kind of met Nikki on June 1st and she told me like afterwards.
Grahm/Dave: When you say met her, you mean like went on a date with her?
Chris: No, I never went on a date with her until Shanann was in North Carolina.
Tammy: Just like flirting stuff?
Chris: Yeah, it was natural flirting back and forth and that was just like, I knew that, with that video timing, I probably looked like I felt guilty for even talking to a girl at work.
Grahm/Dave: You probably did, right?
The neighbor who said he heard yelling and fighting retracted his statement later.
Tammy: Did you guys fight before, you and Shanann? I know you talked about not really raising your voice and stuff. Didn’t a neighbor talk about them fighting and stuff?
Grahm/Dave: Yeah, but that was embellished and exaggerated, and he retracted that.
Dynamics of the Marriage
Tammy: Did you guys ever fight? Was there any domestic violence in your house?
Chris: No, it never —
Grahm/Dave: Even from her to you, I mean, she gets mad when she’s pregnant and grabs a knife or scratches you or smacks you around. Nothing?
Tammy: This is strange to us.
Chris: No, she never like – nothing. That’s what makes all this even more hard to understand from my standpoint and from yours too.
Grahm/Dave: Did she ever belittle you at all? Did you ever feel that way maybe?
Chris: What was that?
Grahm/Dave: Did she ever make you feel like she belittled you or you felt belittled by her?
Chris: I mean, there’s always points in a marriage where the dominant person takes control of everything. My whole life, I just kind of went with the flow. I never like put myself in the center of attention; I didn’t want to be. I just kind of, I just wanted to be in the back row. If she did belittle me, I couldn’t think – [inaudible 01:24:18].
Grahm/Dave: So, you never really felt that way.
Chris: No, I mean, I always knew I was like, you know, the introvert and she was the, you know, she took control of most situations like when people came over, like I knew what my role was.
Tammy: Like I watched the videos, like clean or she’d make like power balls or like protein balls. You just don’t seem like you want to be in those videos.
Tammy: I feel like you were being forced to be in those videos. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what it seemed like to me.
Chris: I hated being in videos. I hated, I mean, I did it for her because it was for the business and stuff, but like, it was, you know, I hated just being out for everybody to see. That’s why the whole, the gender reveal thing, I was just like, I didn’t want it to be like some live Facebook video. I’m just like, “No,” but I never wanted to be out there.
Grahm/Dave: So, Tammy and I and Dave talked about this a lot. Even when it was, I think it was Florida on some Lavell or Thrive thing and she’s like, “Here we are and it’s all expenses paid.” I’m looking at you and I’m thinking, like, “He is not into this video right now.”
Chris: Oh, I was, I didn’t really care about —
Tammy: No, you didn’t look into any of the videos to be honest with you.
Grahm/Dave: I wouldn’t be either, that’s not me.
Tammy: I mean, I remember you talking about like she would even post stuff for you because your trying to be a salesman too of Lavell, of Thrive.
Chris: Like she put me underneath her, not like any of my friends or stuff, like anything I do would help her. So, I would send her pictures – like, “Take a picture with your patch.” “Okay,” send it to her and then she’d make a post about it. Eventually, she was like, “Are you going to take more control over your business?” I was like, “I don’t know what to talk about.” Like if I went to talk to somebody at the mall or at the pool about this, I’d just stumble all over my words and they’d be like, “Okay, bye.” But, no. I’m not a salesman. She’s, I mean, she could sell everything you’re wearing back to you and you wouldn’t even know it. Those videos are not me. I did it just to support her, you know.
Tammy: Could you tell her “no,” could you say, “I don’t want to be in that video?” Or was that an option?
Chris: Probably not. I mean, it’s like, she would have been like, “This is to help our family. This is to help this and that.” I couldn’t have told her no. I mean, it would have made her mad if I would have been like, “No.” I wouldn’t even start that just because it’s for the business, it’s for the family. I was just going to try to help out however I can.
Shanann earned as much as Chris that last year.
Grahm/Dave: Did that actually make money?
Grahm/Dave: So, not only just more sales, put it actually put money in your guys’ pocket?
Chris: Mm-hmm. She made probably, probably in that last year, probably as much as I did.
Grahm/Dave: On commissions, basically? I know that’s a simplified version of it.
Chris: They don’t take taxes out on it. That was the good thing and they paid for your car.
Tammy: Did they give her an allowance or something to buy a car or lease it?
Chris: Once you’re a certain level, like a 12k or above, they give you a car allowance once a month. I’m not sure how they made money, the owners deal with that, but they did. Unless there’s an insane markup on the product, which there probably is. I’m not sure how much it costs for them to make it.
Discussion about the Energy Patch
Tammy: Did you feel like a different person wearing those patches?
Chris: Especially like the Duo, the Burn, I mean, like the Apple watches, like if you look on it, when it tells your exercise, I was exercising like all day because my heart rate was up, just from those patches.
Grahm/Dave: They’re just full of caffeine or what?
Chris: They had something in them. I mean, I had the black label ones, the longer black ones, those had caffeine in them, but it never had that effect. I mean, the Duo Burn ones, the ones that are more like the fat loss type, it was, I could, I felt like I was working out all day even though I wasn’t.
Grahm/Dave: Were you tired?
Chris: I mean, I know at some points, I mean, even Nikki said that like, I’d fall asleep on the couch, on her couch while I was talking to her and then pick back up like I never knew I fell asleep, which I don’t know if was like from an insomnia thing or what. I wasn’t sleeping much.
Tammy: You had a lot going on then.
Chris: Yeah. Those are the only patches, I really felt like a big difference on just because it felt like I was working out all day.
Tammy: You don’t feel like they changed your personality or anything like that, though? Or do you?
Chris: I don’t really know. I know I just felt different on those than any other patch. It was, I felt like I could just go longer and longer each day and I’m not sure like if that was – that was probably a bad thing because I don’t think I was probably sleeping more than three hours a night.
A Future with Nikki?
Tammy: When Shanann was gone, would you stay with Nikki and then go home to get ready for work?
Chris: Yeah, I’d just wake up at 4-4:30, go home and get ready for work and leave. I’d just work out when I got back home.
Grahm/Dave: What were the conversations with Nikki as far as – at some point, you guys were talking about her helping you find an apartment? What did you guys talk about as far as your future together?
Chris: That didn’t really happen. So, I got back from the beach, so I told her, like, you know, I’d lie to her, like, I had talked to Shanann about getting a separation.
Grahm/Dave: And that talk hadn’t happened yet.
Chris: No. It’s kind of like – she knew that something was going on and we weren’t sleeping in the same room and then she, you know, she even mentioned the fact like, “Hey, you know, Colorado’s a 50/50 state,” or something like that. I was like, “Okay, I guess she looked it up.” But that actual talk, that didn’t happen. I thought it was going to happen.
Grahm/Dave: And so, in conversations with Nikki, I get it, you’re telling her like the progress toward the divorce is a little bit more than it was.
Grahm/Dave: And so, what were you guys planning?
Chris: It was more of like she was going to help me find an apartment that was affordable, kind of just around Brighton or maybe just close to work, Fort Lupton or something around there. That’s where my area was.
Tammy: Did you talk about moving in with her?
Chris: She didn’t want that.
Tammy: Would you have done that if she would have been cool with that?
Chris: That would have been a little too soon, I would have thought. We’d only been really seeing each other almost like a month, just talking about two months. She called her house, her apartment like her, I don’t know, like a shield or kind of like her – she had another word for it.
Tammy: Like her safe place.
Chris: Yeah, like a safe place or something like that. And she was like, you know, people like to invade it, that’s why she always let me come over because she said she felt like it was, I was fine, like her dog liked me and just, you belong here type thing. You know, okay.
He had conversations with Shanann about selling the house
Grahm/Dave: You and Shanann, did you talk about selling the house? Or at what point did you? There was some discussion there with Ann Meadows?
Chris: Yeah, she had sent an email about how we would go about like selling the house and I think Ann told her about, get like – Ann was always about getting preapproved, just like, you know, if you’re going to sell your house, get preapproved for another house, so it’s much faster.
Grahm/Dave: Yeah, so you can quickly transition from one to the other. When did that happen, do you remember?
Chris: I think it was either right before we left – no, that had to have been like the first week of August, somewhere around there, I think she made contact.
Grahm/Dave: Okay, so the plan was maybe to buy a house? I think you told me in Brighton, you were thinking about buying a house in Brighton to get out from under it?
Chris: Just like that Adams 12 school system or something. I think that’s what Brighton is.
Tammy: What were you thinking about when you called school on Monday?
Chris: I was freaking out. I didn’t know. I was thinking in my head, what I had just done. I didn’t know – it was stupid to do anything – I mean, to call the school, to call Ann, to call anybody. They were right to be, you know, suspicious about anything because I knew I probably sounded eccentric on the phone and out of sorts. I don’t even know what they were thinking when they heard me.
Tammy: I think they thought it was weird, but I don’t know how you would not sound weird, like you said.
Grahm/Dave: Are you 100% sure the girls were still around and alive when you drove out? Okay. So, that’s completely accurate. There’s nothing else about that?
Chris: They got in the truck.
Tammy: Where did the blanket go?
Chris: It’s either, it’s probably in the trash can or something, I think. It wasn’t, like, it was still in my truck.
Tammy: We thought we saw some GPS where you stopped near construction, a Roloff dumpster, is that true?
Chris: Yeah, I think that’s like, I had dumped my clothes in there.
Grahm/Dave: So, that would have been on the way back to the house?
Chris: My neighborhood?
Grahm/Dave: When Officer [Inaudible 01:35:03] was there? Okay. Was it one of those red construction dumpsters?
Chris: More than likely.
Tammy: Did you pack new clothes? How did that work.
Chris: I already had some in there just in case we have a spill or something. If you ever get crude oil on you, you don’t. I had like two pairs of boots, I had all kinds of different stuff in there just because like this one time I had to [inaudible 01:35:26] up a spill and I had the defrost on and I had a headache for like two weeks because it’s like that crude oil, like it’s bad, so I always had something in there.
Tammy: So, where did you keep them after you took them off? Did you just change out there into your other clothes?
Chris: I dumped my clothes in that dumpster?
Tammy: Wasn’t that on the way back? When you were coming. Like you had already worked the whole day, right?
Chris: I worked ’til like 11 or something.
Grahm/Dave: That was back when Nikole Atkinson–
Chris: When she was at my house and hitting the doorbell, that’s when I knew someone was at the house.
Tammy: Did you think right then, like, “Oh fuck,” like, “Here we go?” What were you thinking?
Chris: I didn’t even know why she was there? I didn’t know, like, maybe, maybe she had an appointment or something with Shanann, I didn’t know.
Discussion about premeditation
Tammy: What did you think that day, what you were going to say? Like what was your plan? Were you just going to go home and report to the police that your family’s gone?
Chris: I had no idea what was going to happen. After everything, I mean, I don’t know how I was even acting even normal to people that were around. Because when like Troy and Cody and Chad and Alyssa and all them, like when they showed up on the site, I don’t even know how I was even, begin somewhat even coherent what I was saying, but apparently they understood me. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Like I said, this wasn’t something like, some criminal minds type.
Tammy: Like well thought out?
Chris: Yeah, nothing like that.
Grahm/Dave: It was minute by minute at that point.
Chris: Yeah, I had no idea what was going on.
The Oil Tanks
Grahm/Dave: So, once the girls were gone, was it also just a minute by minute thing as far as the oil tanks?
Chris: Yeah. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, just thinking about an oil tank just makes me want to, just want to throw up.
Grahm/Dave: And was that just because it was in front of you and there it was, and it just presented itself? It wasn’t a plan beforehand? Okay. Was there any reason why separate ones?
Chris: No, just like I said, it was like going up, just going up the stairs and [inaudible 01:37:47] – like what Frank said is like I was trying to separate everybody; that’s not right. I didn’t want to separate anybody.
Grahm/Dave: What was the reason?
Chris: I can’t even tell you. Like I said, like someone else had control over what I was doing, and it was like I was doing something I never thought I would ever do in my life.
Tammy: Did you think there would be less chance of someone finding them if they were in separate tanks?
Chris: I couldn’t – whatever my reasoning was in my head that day, it wasn’t sound, nothing was right.
Grahm/Dave: And you don’t even remember thinking about it.
Chris: No, it was just like a reaction. Something that I wasn’t even thinking about.
Chris placed trash bags on Shanann’s feet and on her head.
Dave: Can we talk about the trash bags? Do you remember that?
Chris: With the –?
Dave: There were two.
Chris: I didn’t want the girls looking at Shanann while they were in the back seat.
Tammy: So, what did you do?
Chris: I put a trash bag on one end and on her feet and on her head so they didn’t have to see.
Grahm/Dave: And they were just too little to kind of figure out, right?
Chris didn’t purposely separate the three of them
Chris: Yeah, they didn’t know what was going on. I just know like when I was driving up there, you know, they were just, you know, sitting there just, you know, kind of asleep or kind of just like, you know, holding on to each other, like in each other’s laps. You know, I didn’t —
Grahm/Dave: Do you remember having any thoughts or thinking about why not just putting them all together with Shanann?
Chris: I just, I just – it was just happening so fast, I had no time really to have a thought that was my own. But I wasn’t like, dutifully trying to separate anybody passing away, trying to keep anybody separate. Everything, you know, Frank was saying, Frank said, you know, I don’t hold it against him, I mean, they can hate me for, they have a right to hate me for the rest of their lives.
Grahm/Dave: They don’t.
Tammy: They don’t hate you.
Shanann’s parent’s message to Chris
Grahm/Dave: While we’re on this subject, I speak with them weekly and I told them that we were going to come here and then hopefully you’d speak with us and they told me to tell you, understandably, they’re devastated, but they actually said that they love, they still love you and Sandy explained it. You know, he’s our son-in-law for eight years, I can’t just turn that off. So, they don’t hate you, they don’t.
Chris: It’s amazing to hear that.
Grahm/Dave: I can tell you Sandy was the one that was most resistant to penalties in this case and she said that, she told me that from the very beginning. That she didn’t want that, it’s God’s decision; it’s not her decision and then she told me that even then. So, it’s not just a one-time thing that she has said it to me. It’s been over the whole course of the [inaudible 01:41:25]. That’s probably one of the most honest things someone’s ever told me. It’s pretty amazing. Her faith is, she’s obviously a believer, so am I, I get it, so I understand it.
Chris: That’s amazing to even hear that. I would have figured they would have hated me for —
Grahm/Dave: They don’t. I mean, anybody would think that, I certainly would have, and I have to admit, I was surprised. I was really taken aback by that, but they certainly don’t.
Chris: What did they say when they knew you were coming out here?
Grahm/Dave: They said they want to know details because they need closure and that’s really all they want and they want to keep it private and I said, “Absolutely.” We’ll talk to him about what you told us, just so they can put it past them because they’re having a hard time dealing with it and trying to get past it all and I think that may help just to know.
Chris: Closure is, you know…I mean, my parents still think, you know, like I told them I pled guilty for a reason. And I told it to them, and they have that video phone thing in Colorado the day before, like I pled guilty and I pled guilty for a reason. I knew other people were watching. I didn’t just go in and just say anything. They seemed to take it okay and…
On Pleading Guilty
Tammy: What made you do that, Chris? What made you plead guilty?
Chris: I didn’t want them to go through this for two or four years. I didn’t want my attorneys to lie for me for two or four years. I mean, they would have done anything I told them to do. I don’t see how they can do that, like, you know, that’s what attorneys to. They take their defendant and they say what happened, “Okay, we’ll go with that story.” I told them everything I just told you guys and it was just like and they got together and they’re like, “If they ever offered a plea-deal, would you ever want to just plead guilty to it?” I’m like, “Yeah, if we can end this, end it.” In September, I told them that. It was way too early the prosecution was still doing their – grabbing evidence and all kinds of stuff and that wasn’t even really on the table. I think it was around Halloween, I think that’s when the prosecutors went to Frank and Sandy at Frankie’s house and just talked them, like if we could end this, would you be open to that? And that’s when the whole death penalty and all that conversation happened. I guess they were surprised that it would just be over.
Tammy: We were all in shock, I’m not going to lie. It was like we were going 100 miles an hour and then we just hit a brick wall. That’s what it felt like to all of us.
Chris: I mean, I told John and Kate and Sophia and everybody, “Hey, if we can just stop this. I know everybody’s telling me to fight this.” Everybody was saying there’s not enough evidence to this and that and I’m just like, “No. This needs to end.” Because for Frank and everybody to have to fly back to Colorado every single time and get reminded of this, it’s never going to go away, but to have to come and talk about and have other people talk about it, have all three of you on the witness stand and say what they saw, what they heard on tapes and everything like that, I don’t want people to live with that over and over and over again for years. If I could just end this for everybody and then like if there was any closure at all, they could start then instead of in 2022. Because I know it would only get worse for everybody.
Tammy: Did it have anything to do with you not having the death penalty?
Chris: Honestly, when I was sitting in that cell, I felt like I should die. I mean, I was listening to everybody telling me like, “Hey, if you do this and this, you can hang yourself in that cell. You could do this and that.”
Tammy: They were telling you stuff you could do.
Chris: Yeah. You could drown yourself in the toilet. They’d been there a bunch of times. At one point, I was listening to them. I just felt like maybe there’s a different purpose for me somewhere. Maybe it’s here. I don’t know. I prayed to God every day that he would move me away from Colorado, he could move me away from the DOC there because they were saying there was a hit on me. They said if I was going to a DOC in Colorado, like I’d last a week and I’d be dead. [Inaudible 01:46:52] like the gangs and all that kind of stuff. I just felt like God moved me here for a reason and hopefully I can help people that way, but like I didn’t want my family, I didn’t want Shanann’s family and all of our friends having to go through that because after a while I knew this stuff was anywhere and I knew all her Thrive friends, everybody, it would have just broke that whole in their hearts just a little bit bigger every time. I didn’t want that. Because I knew it would have gotten worse. I didn’t want it to get any worse than it already was.
About Shanann killing the girls
Grahm/Dave: Did you ever think about, it could be very believable what I told them, it could be very believable that Shanann did end the girls and so, maybe if I tried to convince people, maybe if I fought with my attorneys on that, maybe I could lessen it somehow. Did you ever think about that?
Chris: Honestly, I never even thought about the story until you guys mentioned. I never even thought about it until you guys mentioned it.
Tammy: So, what did you think about it once it got mentioned?
Chris: Just like I just went with it. I knew my dad was out there, I knew they would probably believe it because my mom and my sister just never really liked Shanann. Through all this, I got letters from some of our friends who even said, “When we all went over to your house, we could see Shanann was a dominant personality and more of like you’re always helping with the kids and everything and you’re a great dad. We could see,” a couple of things that I never I saw. My best friend Mark said, there was always something he didn’t really get with Shanann. I was just like, “Nobody ever told me any of this stuff.” I never thought about that story and that’s what my attorneys were going with. And then I think it was probably the second week I told them what had really happened.
Tammy: What did they say after that?
Chris: They were quiet. They were writing it down. They said they wouldn’t judge me. So, I told them. I told them everything that happened. They appreciated… like most of the times the defendants don’t tell them actually what happened. They just tell them, “Get me off, get me out of here. This is what happened.” But I told them what happened. I didn’t want them going… if this was going to go anywhere in courts, I didn’t want them to be under a false pretense and get surprised. Because I know there were probably things that you guys probably knew that maybe if I lied to them and just told them, “No, this is what happened,” that it would have made them look foolish and stupid and unprepared. And I’m just, “This is what happened.” And they appreciated me telling them that. So now, they would be prepared and that’s when they were saying if we ever went to the prosecution and say if we could end this, would I be open to it? I was like, “If it could end, just end it.”
Shanann’s phone, watch, and wedding ring
Tammy: Wasn’t her phone found on the couch or between the couch cushions? Did you plant all that stuff?
Chris: I just threw it in there?
Tammy: Why did you do that?
Chris: I don’t know what was going on that morning. Even her watch, her phone. If I had planned this, I would have probably just taken it out to the field.
Tammy: What about her ring and stuff? What were you thinking about that?
Chris: Maybe she actually really wanted a divorce. Maybe she didn’t want to fix it. Just put it there on the counter.
Tammy: She took it off? Or did you take it off?
Chris: I took it off.
Tammy: So, that would look like she was saying, “I want a divorce, I’m leaving it here when I’m taking off.” I see.
Grahm/Dave: The phone and her watch in the couch, you did that morning before you left to go to…? Okay.
Chris: That’s, I think, Nikole’s son, daughter or something.
Tammy: What other things did you do that maybe we even missed?
Chris: We talked about the phone and the watch. I think I threw the therapy book she wanted me to read in the trash.
Tammy: That was that morning?
Chris: Probably, I think so.
Tammy: Were you trying to make it look like she threw it in the trash?
Chris: I don’t know. I just didn’t think it would – nothing was ever going to work again. I didn’t know what was going on.
Tammy: Did you go down to the basement? How about the basement door open?
Grahm/Dave: Yeah, the door was open. So, there was a lot of movement, I think it was around 4:26 or something. The garage door opening, the basement door opening and then, of course, the living room sensors and all. Do you remember what you were doing all during that time other than going in and out of the garage?
Tammy: You had a lot of steps, I’ll just say that.
Chris: Like the basement, I’m not sure. I mean, the only thing I really have down there is my workout, the bench press.
Tammy: Do you remember going down there for anything or opening that door for anything? Did you think about, well maybe I’ll take her out that way?
Tammy: Is it a walkout basement?
Chris: No. It’s like a garden-level basement. I don’t remember really – I don’t think I worked out that morning.
Tammy: Were you packing your lunch in the kitchen, did you have to do all that normal stuff?
Chris: Yeah, I packed my lunch and everything. I did all that, but I don’t remember about the basement. Unless I just worked out that morning and I just don’t remember – I don’t think I did. Unless there was a trash bag down there.
Tammy: You get trash bags from there?
Chris: Maybe. Maybe there wasn’t any in the garage and I went down there and got one.
Grahm/Dave: Do you normally carry a roll of trash bags in your truck?
Grahm/Dave: There was a roll in your truck?
Chris: There was? Maybe I just grabbed it and brought it with me.
Tammy: That would have been kept in the basement maybe?
Chris: The basement or the garage.
Grahm/Dave: One of the more poignant or tender moments in all of this was seeing you with your dad when he came in. What was it like when you picked him up at the airport?
Chris: It was very strange. It was kind of like I almost knew this was probably the last time I’d ever see him on the outside – in my head, I knew that.
Grahm/Dave: What did you guys talk about?
Chris: Honestly, he just wanted to talk about sports. He always distances himself from a problem. Like if there was ever an issue or anything like that, he always wanted to just bring up – like when I would try to get him to quit smoking all the time, this was after I just graduated high school.
Tammy: Are you talking about cigarettes?
Chris: Yeah. He would always change the subject. Like, “Did hear what happened in [inaudible 01:54:38] football? He’d say, “Oh, yeah. I’d get to it.” And just, boom, something else. I just kind of felt like it was kind of like that. He maybe asked a few questions, like, “Do you know where they’re at? Do you think you know where they’re at?” I told him, “No.” And then, he just wanted to talk about sports and just normal things and just kind of – I’m not sure if he maybe knew anything, maybe he kind of figured out something maybe happened and just wanted to talk to me as a son.
Grahm/Dave: Is it possible that he saw that you were in a stressful situation and wanted to do what he always did? Make things comfortable.
Chris: Yeah. I think that was a good way to put it.
Grahm/Dave: I think you picked up a lot of that from him.
Chris: Yeah, because in stressful situations, I mean, the gray hair doesn’t show it, but I try not to be in stress. You know, I worked on cars – there’s a lot of stress because it’s always, it’s on commission, you get paid by what you do, not by you showing up. You know, at [where he worked 01:55:49], it was a little less stressful. Because I got paid just to be there.
Tammy: Was your dad’s marriage like yours and Shanann’s marriage? Like your dad was the more passive one and your mom is the more dominant.
Chris: Yeah, my mom was always the more aggressive one.
Tammy: Was she like Shanann in a way? I mean, were you attracted to Shanann because she was kind of like how your mom and dad’s relationship was?
Chris: It almost mirrored her mom and dad’s relationship, honestly, because her dad is like my dad. They’re both kind of calm, cool, collected and her mom is very…
Grahm/Dave: Sandy rules that roost.
Chris: Oh yeah. Yeah, very. I kind of related it to that. Her mom always said like, she always told Shanann that she would marry somebody that was kind of like her dad and I felt like I was kind of like her dad. I mean, I couldn’t build a lot of things he could, but our personalities were kind of like, you know – I think he really liked me the first time he met me because I was helping Shanann with this – she had gotten this car from the dealership that she worked at and she was driving it around and it felt like wheels might fall off. And I pulled over where her dad was and I was like, I got underneath it and jacked it up and I was like, you know, trying to fix everything and he was saying like, “Any other guy she ever dated would have stood by and watched me do it.” So, I think that’s when she really kind of liked me. I was always the one to help people, not to hurt anybody.
On his relationship with Shanann early on
Grahm/Dave: And you helped her all through her Lupus and you were at the colonoscopy and you’re jacking up the car.
Chris: I mean, any time she had an issue with her car [inaudible 01:57:35], I just got it to work, see what I could do with it, I would do whatever I could to help.
Grahm/Dave: Well, I think one of the reasons Frank and Sandy work so well is because Frank lets Sandy be Sandy. And they probably [inaudible 01:57:47] on you that you let Shanann be Shanann.
Chris: Yeah, I didn’t try to change her. I just let her be who she is. She’s gung-ho. She knows what she wants and she’s going to go get it and I didn’t say, “Hey, you can’t do that,” and that’s what her first husband did. He controlled everything. He tried to be Sandy and it didn’t work. And she turned into almost like me. She was kind of like laid back and let him do what he needed to do but then I think she learned after that, that she could just be herself and with me, she could definitely be herself. So, that’s how it worked.
Grahm/Dave: Do you think your dad had any inkling because I’m trying to remember the timing. He showed up when you were still walking around; you weren’t in any trouble yet, you and Ronnie came in.
Chris: Yes, I had met with you the night before like for three or four hours. And then I was at Nick and Amanda’s house and that’s when I went to go pick him up.
Grahm/Dave: And when you picked him up, it was early that morning, right?
Chris: It was 10:30, I think, when his flight came in.
Grahm/Dave: From there, you guys probably drove home and then to the police station. And the talks there were no type of confession from you.
Chris: No, I was just going to wait and tell him like, you know, if you’re hungry, there’s that barbecue joint down the street and it’s good. He told me he never left.
Grahm/Dave: He didn’t. I wasn’t lying. He was faithful.
Chris: I mean, I don’t know how he lasted that long without food.
Tammy: We ended up giving him food.
Chris: Oh, okay.
Grahm/Dave: He was great. And the reason I ask is because when I looked back and watched the video, now knowing what I know after talking to you today, I can see how genuine he was, but I just didn’t know if you guys had come up with some sort of plan.
Chris: No, he never talked about anything like that. If I had told him anything, he would have probably told me, “Just tell them right away.” He would have still loved me either way, but he would have told me, “You need to tell them right now.” I didn’t think I was going to be there for 14 or however long it was, like 10 hours or more that day.
Tammy: You were there a long time.
Chris: He would have told me just to tell you.
Tammy: Did you know walking in there that you were going to tell us?
Chris: I knew there was a reason you brought me back in.
About the Polygraph
Tammy: What did you think about the polygraph?
Chris: That was horrible. I don’t know how you do that.
Tammy: Why do you say that?
Grahm/Dave: Because Tammy’s a torturer?
Chris: You asked me questions for three or four hours beforehand and then you do the polygraph and it’s like you just break down somebody’s brain to where like —
Tammy: Too much?
Chris: Too much. Jell-O and it’s just like – I know you guys have a job and you have a plan and that’s what you executed.
Grahm/Dave: She’s thorough, right? There’s no way to get out of there without the truth.
Chris: I kind of knew because right when you asked me about Saturday night when I told you about [inaudible 02:01:06] and I was like, “Man, she is going through your head.”
Tammy: We found out about Nikki right before the polygraph.
Chris: I figured that out after meeting with John and everybody that she had met with somebody from the CBI, like on the 14th or the 15th and I was just like, they were talking. Oh, okay. So, you already knew.
Tammy: I mean, I didn’t know how extensive it was, but yes, we knew.
Chris: Walking in there that day, just walking into that room, I knew I wasn’t walking out. Just a feeling I had walking in that room. I mean, I don’t remember polygraph stuff was already in there, I think it was —
Tammy: It was, yeah. I just feel like sometimes when people do do the bad thing and they stay, like some part of me thinks they’re here because they really want to tell us what happened because it’s not normal that you want to keep all that in. That just kills people on the inside, and I could tell it was killing you that day.
Chris: Yeah, I mean, the 13th, when I slept in the house, I don’t think I even slept, maybe like two hours because finally, I got so tired, I just fell asleep; I had every light on. Nothing felt right.
On the media interview
Tammy: What were you thinking about during your media interviews?
Chris: I didn’t want to do it.
Tammy: What did you do it? Did you feel like you had to do it?
Chris: I felt like they would have just kept knocking on my door until I answered it and I didn’t even set it up; Nicole Atkinson set it up. She told me, “Hey, Fox is going to…”
Grahm/Dave: Is she the one that set it up?
Chris: She said, “Fox is going to be at your house at 10:30.” I’m like, “What?” I think I even called you about it, like what do you recommend that I do, and you were like, “It’s kind of up to you.” I’m like, “Okay.” I called one of her friends, you know, “What should I do?” and she said, “I probably wouldn’t do it,” but I just felt like – I don’t even want to know what I said, what I looked like on there because I knew – some people said I just made it look even worse after the fact.
Tammy: It didn’t look good. Obviously, we can’t say we knew right then he was lying, but I think we all watched together and went, “This might be bad.” I had that feeling after I watched it. I could kind of see it in your face.
Chris: It was I was lying to more and more people.
Grahm/Dave: Do you have internet access here? No. I was going to say just don’t get into that trap, watching all of that, the social media crap and all that, it’s ridiculous.
Chris: They don’t let you have social media here. I think some of the GP guys are getting like these little tablets or something that are like the size of like an older iPhone or something. I think they can use email but I’m not sure about social media – definitely no social media, but I’m not sure about internet or not. But this place is kind of like, [inaudible 02:04:30] phone anyways, I don’t think.
Tammy: I don’t know, we’re getting service, which weird; I didn’t think we would.
Chris: Maybe this is kind of like a hub of computers.
The last time he communicated with Nikki
Tammy: Did you talk to Nikki afterwards, after all this happened?
Chris: On the 13th, on the 14th.
Tammy: What was that conversation like?
Chris: The 13th was kind of like, you know, it was more text and then maybe a phone call, like a phone call. And then, she thought maybe Shanann took off with the kids because I was telling her I didn’t know where they were and all that. On the 14th, she kind of like, I think she kind of thought something may have happened because they hadn’t come back.
Tammy: Why do you say she might have thought that?
Chris: She kept asking me some weird questions. She kept asking questions that only I would know but she was testing to see if it was actually me on the phone.
Tammy: What do you mean?
Chris: She would ask like, what’s my dog’s name? Or what yoga studio do I go to? Or something like that. I’d just answer. “I’m not sure if this is you.” I was just like, “Okay.”
Tammy: Is this through text or is this through calling?
Grahm/Dave: Is it possible she thought you’d been arrested, and we were on the phone?
Chris: Either Shanann had my phone or somebody else had my phone. Like maybe she thought it was…
Tammy: Well, hopefully Shanann would know all the answers to those questions?
Chris: No, this is Nikki asking me.
Tammy: If she’s asking you the name of your dog and what yoga studio…
Chris: Maybe she thought, you know, I was with Shanann, she was just trying to find out who she was. Some of the conversations on the 14th got a little weird; I think that’s when she met with CBI or FBI, I’m not sure which.
Tammy: So, she talked to you after she met with…?
Chris: She had told me, this is the last time you’ll probably hear from me, I’m going to stay at my friend, [inaudible 02:06:49]’s, place while all this is going on. She said not to contact her until this is done. She told me to delete everything; I didn’t delete everything. I’m not sure why I didn’t delete everything, but it probably helped you guys out a little bit.
Grahm/Dave: She told you to delete everything?
Chris: Delete all conversations.
Grahm/Dave: Did she tell you why?
Chris: She just said delete it. Which I don’t think you can ever delete a text message.
Tammy: We’re pretty good at getting deleted text messages.
Chris’s Visit to North Carolina
Grahm/Dave: When your dad came in, one of the first things you guys talked about, you said, kind of quietly, “I cheated on her. I cheated on Shanann.” Your dad didn’t know until that time?
Chris: When I was in North Carolina, on August 6th when I spent most of the day with my parents and my sister and everybody, you know, I told him something like, I don’t think this is going to work with what happened with the nuts and everything and they’re not being able to see the kids. This is the first time they had talked to me, pretty much.
Grahm/Dave: Because you went three weeks or something, right?
Chris: Yeah, because Shanann had told me to call them while I was at the beach just to smooth everything out because she was like, “All right, whatever’s going on in your head, you need to fix this,” but she didn’t want the kids to see them, she didn’t want to see them. And then when I did see them August 6th, it was after I went and saw my grandmother – she’s in a nursing home – and she still wouldn’t go see my parents or anybody with the kids. So, I just told her to leave me there and my dad could pick me up and spent the whole day there. They said they wanted to see the kids, they just don’t know if they could ever forgive Shanann for everything that happened that day. I mean, I’m not sure everything that was said that day when they had that argument, but apparently, it was a knock-down, drag-out bomb that went off.
Grahm/Dave: Pretty hurtful things?
Chris: Yeah, I’m guessing so. I just don’t know if they ever forgive her or not and I never told them about cheating on her. They even asked me if there was somebody else.
Grahm/Dave: Did they really? So, they could kind of sense maybe something’s going on.
Chris: Because Nikki was texting me the entire time I was over there. They could kind of see I was texting somebody. Maybe they knew. Even when I was in San Diego talking to my friend, Mark, I told him about Nikki, but I didn’t tell him I was going to meet up with her. I told him that I was trying to – I should have just told him right then, maybe that would have helped me. I know he had an instance where there was some girl coming after him and she was engaged, and he ended up getting with her and then they were together and then she cheated on him.
Grahm/Dave: Is this before he was married or during?
Chris: It was after. Like, he could have helped me, but I never told him the whole thing that it was a lot further along than I wanted it to be.
Grahm/Dave: That’s interesting to think about, right? That your dad could have given you some good advice.
Chris: Yeah, everybody. No, this is my friend, Mark while I was in San Diego.
Dave: So, you think if you told Mark about that, then maybe he’d question you about it?
Chris: You know, Mark’s my best friend, I grew up with him since I was like eight/nine years old and he had been married before and it didn’t work out – I guess they were stationed together or something over in Korea. I should have just came out with the whole story. I just told him there was this girl at work that I’ve been talking to you, but I was distancing myself from her, but that wasn’t the case. I was just letting it exponentially get worse. If I had told him, like, “Hey, you know,” he would have been like, “Whoa, man,” like, “All right. Take a step back and look and don’t fall into that trap thinking you’re going to be alone for five weeks.” There’s times I wish like, maybe Shanann didn’t have to go away for five weeks, maybe we all just went for one week and nothing would have ever happened. Five weeks alone, that’s the only reason really that was almost even allowed to happen.
More on the Relationship with Nikki
Grahm/Dave: There are quite a few people who would tell us and who do tell us, you need to look into Nikki more, Nikki Kessinger, all the way from the extreme end of things being, Nikki is the one who ordered the hit.
Tammy: She was there hiding in the basement.
Grahm/Dave: You know, so, the extreme is, she’s the one who told Chris to do it, she’s the real problem. That’s the extreme side and then all the way to, well, there is this text where she was infatuated, she was in love, she was saying how good Chris was in the sack and maybe we should look at her more. What would you say to those people?
Chris: She had her moments where I had to talk her off a ledge kind of deal.
Grahm/Dave: What does that mean?
Chris: I guess after the fact, there were videos of her that she was recording herself because she’s bipolar or something – I never knew that – and she would get worked up about nothing. She came to my house once because I think it was like July 4th, I didn’t have to work that day, so I didn’t get up at 4:00 and go home and Shanann had called me like ten times in a row and I didn’t hear it because I was sleeping. And she was pissed.
Grahm/Dave: Who was pissed?
Chris: Shanann was pissed. And I called on the outside, “Where are you at?” I was like, “I don’t have to work today. You called me at 5:30.” “The kids wanted to talk to you at 7:30.” I’m like, “I was sleeping.” She was just like, “Screw you. I don’t know where you’re at.” I went back inside, and I told Nikki, “I gotta go.” And she was just like, “Okay. Are you coming back?” I’m like, “Probably not.”
Grahm/Dave: So, wait a minute, you kind of lost me there. Were you at Nikki’s place when Shanann called you?
Grahm/Dave: And so, you were sleeping in her bed?
Chris: Yeah, because I wasn’t going to work that day because I didn’t have to that day. It was the first holiday I ever had off. Shanann was pissed and it kind of pissed Nikki off too that I left but I think that’s when she – I called Nikki later and she was like, she kind of realized that she’d always be the second, she said, second bill. Because I said I probably wouldn’t come back that day because I don’t want to be anywhere else when Shanann calls and she was already pissed. It was stuff like that where she would go – she said she would go on like websites and look at will our relationship work with somebody, like will a mistress turn into a relationship?
Grahm/Dave: That’s what Nikki was looking up?
Grahm/Dave: She would tell you that?
Chris: She told me that. Yeah, she said that she would go on websites and look at stuff like that. I was like, why do you even look at stuff like that? She was like, “I just want to see what other people have experienced.”
Grahm/Dave: So, that confuses me though because I thought earlier you were saying she thought you were heading toward a divorce. So, why was she looking at herself as a mistress?
Chris: This was later on, like in August, the first week of August when I told her, I’d had had that talk with her about separation, that’s when she started to look at apartments and stuff, but like during our July relationship, that’s when she was looking up will it actually work. She told her friend, Brittany, about it, I guess, and Brittany told her not to do it, but she said she’d already made her decision.
Grahm/Dave: And are those people absolutely wrong about Nikki? She wasn’t asking you to get rid of your family?
Grahm/Dave: Are you sure?
Chris: I’m sure.
Grahm/Dave: And no part of any of this was because she put it in your head or asked you to?
Chris: She never, I mean – this whole relationship contributed to it but she never, it never, she didn’t want me to do it.
Tammy: Was it ever like, “I wish you didn’t have kids. I want to have kids of my own with you?”
Chris: She never knew if she wanted to have kids, but she said that, you know, at one point she said, “I’d like to give you a son.”
Tammy: Did she know that Shanann was pregnant with a boy?
Tammy: Did she know Shanann was pregnant?
Tammy: And why is that? You just didn’t tell her?
Chris: I didn’t tell her. Because we had met —
Tammy: But Shanann put that on Facebook. Like how did she not see that?
Chris: I don’t know. Maybe she did, and she was just waiting for me to tell her or she put it out of her head.
Nico wasn’t named after Nikki; Shanann really liked the name.
Dave: A lot of people think you name Nico after Nikki. So, what was that about?
Chris: Nico was actually a name that Shanann liked.
Grahm/Dave: Shanann thought of that one?
Chris: Yeah, I wanted to spell it like N-E-K-O, I thought it was like, Neko, that way, but she said, N-I-C-O, and I thought it sounded like Nicko or something. I guess Nico is more of like an Italian name and Lee for my middle name and my dad’s and all that, but Nico, that’s the name that she always liked.
Tammy: Did she name all the kids? Did she name Bella and Celeste?
Chris: Yeah, Bella, because in Italian it means beautiful. Marie, her mom’s middle name. Celeste is her grandmother’s name, Catherine, Shanann’s middle name.
Tammy: Did you have any input in their names?
Chris: I liked them. I was like, if we had a third child, you know, I was going to, maybe we could have like Lee in the middle name. I knew the girls’ names – I love those names, so it was cool. Especially like, we have little nicknames for them, like Bell and Belladine and CeCe, obviously. Nico was [inaudible 02:17:19].
Chris is being asked to account for what he did on the 13th when he went through the garage to unlock the front door for the officer and Nickole.
Dave: Can we go back to the house on the 13th? At one point, right when you got back there and Officer Coonrod and Nickole was there and then you went in the house for about a minute or so before you let everybody in. Do you remember what you were doing in there at that time?
Chris: So, I went in through the garage and then I ran around, and I opened the front door?
Chris: Opened the front door – did everybody come in through the garage or the front door?
Dave: Everybody came in through the front door.
Chris: I went in through there, I came in and opened the front door and ran upstairs. I was just like looking around.
Dave: That’s after everybody? Did you go around the house at all before you opened the front door?
Chris: I didn’t run around the house, I stayed down on the bottom floor and went and opened the door and then I ran upstairs with everybody else and that’s when Nickole’s son found the phone and [inaudible 02:18:18] walking through the house.
Chris is asked why Shanann would still have her bra on
Tammy: Shanann had her bra on. Was that normal that she would sleep in a bra?
Chris: Mm, every once in a while. I mean, she just got home from the plane, so she didn’t even take off her makeup or anything. Maybe she was just that tired. But normally, I don’t know.
Tammy: Did it not come off when you guys had sex?
Chris: I don’t think so. Sometimes she just, you know, just keeps her shirt on and she doesn’t want me to do anything. She wants what she wants. She knew what she wanted.
Tammy: Was it just missionary sex?
Grahm/Dave: When she was in her final resting place, was that just naturally what she was wearing? You didn’t change her or anything like that? Okay.
Tammy: Did you have to see any of that stuff? Pictures or anything? No.
Chris: I asked not to. They said I could. I was like, “No,” I’ve prayed for those hazmat workers, I’m sure it was hazmat, right?
Grahm/Dave: We were all there.
Tammy: We were all there.
Chris: I’m sorry. I never wanted to see, I just prayed for [inaudible 02:19:39] had to be there. I never wanted to know what, what the aftermath was. They said, like, you know, if this ever got like a preliminary hearing that I would have to see them just to be prepared and not have a reaction, an initial reaction. But I was like, “I don’t want to see them.”
On his decision to plead guilty
Tammy: Do you feel like your lawyers were fair to you?
Chris: Yeah, they were all – they were on me, stayed in contact. They were kind of like, almost like a guidance counselor.
Tammy: Did you feel like you were driving the bus though with the decisions you made?
Chris: Yeah, I was like – there were a lot of things I didn’t really know what was going on behind the scenes, like maybe there were a lot of things they never told me, like stuff that came out afterwards, like that whole Nikki Kessinger article in the Denver Post and all that kind of stuff. They told me afterwards and everything. I always felt like anything I would tell them, they were fair – like the whole making the plea deal and everything, I told them that’s what I wanted to do, and they asked me, it seems like a hundred times, “Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure? Once you sign this.” I guess, up until sentencing, I had time to back out but even before we walked in the courtroom, they were like, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yeah, this is it.” They were like, “Okay.” They never told me, “This is what you have to do.” They always just said, “This is your decision. If you want to take this farther, we’re –” and John said he had all kinds of motions written and all kinds of stuff that were really creative because he’s never been in something like this before and he was ready to fight. And I was just like, “I didn’t want you to have to do that. Not for me. Not for something where the story isn’t true.” It would have only just gotten worse for everybody, for all three of you, for everybody that was involved in it.
Grahm/Dave: Are you still glad you did?
Chris: Yeah, I mean, I never thought I’d be in prison the rest of my life, but I don’t want people to have to go through this every day of their lives knowing that there’s a trial hanging over their head – if it even would have gotten that far, I don’t know. But I didn’t want people to have to relive it every day. Did they [inaudible 02:22:26] the pictures?
Grahm/Dave: Say that again.
Chris: Did Frank, Sandy and all them ever see the pictures?
Grahm/Dave: No, they’ve never seen them. They saw some things. They didn’t see anything that – we shielded that from them.
Chris: I just didn’t want them to have to see anything or hear anybody talk about what – anything or any part of it. Or anybody bash their daughter, like anybody to ruin, to hear what some of my friends had a negative impact from her or like had a description of her that didn’t match – I didn’t want them to hear that either. I didn’t want anybody to have to trash her memory. I wanted them to know that she was a loving wife, she was beautiful, she always helped everybody else, all of her friends, her [inaudible 02:23:19] friends, everybody. I don’t want anybody to take away from what she did.
Tammy: We tried to get you to say that that night. Do you remember that?
Chris: I remember. I was just like —
Tammy: I know you weren’t obviously ready to say anything.
Chris: Like after my dad left, you both came and like, all right, we got most of the story, let’s get to the true story. I just wanted to bang my head against the table.
Grahm/Dave: But in the end, I think you did the right thing and even though it’s hard to hear, there are a lot of people who thank you for what you did. I think your whole life has been thinking of others except for one brief moment, you know, I think you really did think of others when you made that choice. So, I personally thank you. It would have been hard for the three of us to go through this hard, and for everyone else about that hard.
Chris: Yeah, anybody that was family or friends and it just makes it much harder for everybody.
Grahm/Dave: You did the right thing.
What Chris’s Parents Think
Tammy: So, you haven’t told your parents what happened? You just told them I’m pleading guilty for a reason?
Chris: Yeah, I’ve told them on the phone because they’re still, I don’t know.
Tammy: You should fight it.
Chris: They’ve got letters from Australia, from England, like the 35C in Colorado, like improper counsel or something like that.
Tammy: Ineffective counsel.
Chris: Ineffective counsel. I mean, some of the stuff they’re saying about the Thrive patch, that it’s not FDA approved and how it can altered somebody’s mind – it was some kind of condition, but there was someone else, they called CPSD complex, post-traumatic stress disorder or something like that and then like some people from England have had it, it’s like they’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship or something like that. Some of the stuff they put in there, like, yeah, I can relate to it, but it doesn’t make up for the fact of what happened. They’ve got a lot of support. They got a lot of hate mail, a lot of phone calls, stuff like that, I wish it never happened. They get some support, which is good, but on the phone, they still think, you know, there’s a chance that I could get out.
Tammy: Yeah, I mean, you don’t want to ever think your kid’s going away forever. You don’t want to fathom that.
Chris: They tell me to fight it, not every day, but on their bad days. They’ll get a bad message or bad letter and they’ll kind of revert back.
Tammy: Is it more your mom or your dad?
Chris: My mom. She loses it a lot on the phone. My dad is usually trying to, you know, like, “Hey, don’t talk about this stuff on the phone,” because it’s going to rile you up and it’s going to make him go back to his cell and he’s going to think about that all night. And that’s what happens a lot.
Grahm/Dave: Did you ever want them to know what you’re telling us today?
Chris: I’d rather just tell them myself. They’re coming – I think they’re going to try to make a visit in like May or so.
Grahm/Dave: Do they still think that Shanann killed the girls?
Chris: They still believe that even though I told them I pled guilty for a reason, but they think that I was, their words, like railroaded by [inaudible 02:26:49]. Because they feel like they pressured me to do it.
Tammy: Do you feel like that?
Chris: No. They asked me plenty of times. They wanted to fight. If I said, “Fight,” they would have just done —
Tammy: Put on their gloves.
Chris: Yeah, just went in there and did it, you know. I was like, “No, I can’t have you do that.”
Grahm/Dave: So, Chris, you care about others deeply, I can tell, you worry about others. And I’ve asked you a bunch of times today, but you’re not just telling us that you did it because you feel bad for Shanann’s memory? You did it? Okay.
Did his childhood/background hold any clues?
Tammy: I have to say after this was all over, you know, people would bring up, “Oh my gosh, I bet you’re going to find out that Chris used to torture animals,” you know, all this stuff. You can imagine, like hearing that if someone’s capable of that, what have they done in their past, those kinds of things. Can you think back to your past at all, like your childhood, and think about any other moments that maybe you felt the same rage? I mean, obviously, you didn’t do anything like that, but maybe felt that rage and what would have triggered that or anything like that.
Chris: Not really. I was always somebody that tried to coax people down. If somebody wanted to fight somebody else – I think I got in a fight like when I was in third grade, but it was like we ripped each other’s shirt and we were like crying. It was stupid. I was like, “Why did I do that?” That was my only bad thing I did in school. I can’t think of anything.
Tammy: Did you feel it on the inside whether you didn’t act it out? Did you feel, like if someone bullied you at school, would it still be inside you? Did you feel like that even though you didn’t actually act on it?
Chris: I never really talked to many people, so I never, I mean, people knew who I was but they didn’t really, I mean, I never really spoke to many people. That’s why I never had a girlfriend in high school. I was always kind of like under the radar.
Tammy: Did you feel like you had low self-esteem?
Chris: I wouldn’t say low self-esteem, it was just like I didn’t want to be part of like a group or a clique, I had a couple of friends and sat at the lunch table with them or sat out, they called it the fish pond area, and just chilled out there. I didn’t even want a whole lot of friends, just kind of like close-knit, I just wasn’t out there. Like I said, people knew who I was, but it wasn’t, like, I wasn’t popular or anything.
Tammy: Can you attribute that to anything in your childhood? Why you were like that?
Chris: My sister was always the popular one. She was more like my mom, more like outgoing and like me and my grandma would always sit outside in the middle school, waiting for her to come out and pick her up and she’d always be the last one out because she’d talk to everyone in the hallway and my grandma was always like, “Where is she at? Does she know we’re waiting?” I was just the opposite of her. My mom was like, “Sometimes you have kids that are the same and sometimes you have opposite.” And me and my sister were totally opposite. Maybe I just drew on that, that I didn’t want to be the popular one, I wanted to be just a regular guy. There was never any bullying that I remember. Nobody ever really came up to me or wanted to fight me.
Tammy: Never got made fun of?
Chris: I had braces and I had like a bowl cut for a while, [inaudible 02:30:22] made fun of that.
Tammy: Most kids did.
Grahm/Dave: The ’80s and ’90s were cruel.
Chris: It was like a Jim Carey cut with a bowl on your head. I don’t think there was anything that would be pent up inside me from childhood.
His dad’s drug addiction when Chris left home at 18
Tammy: I know you talked about your dad having an addiction when I was talking to you.
Chris: That was after I left home.
Tammy: Was that cocaine or something?
Chris: It was something like a powder; I’m not sure, I guess it was cocaine.
Tammy: How do you think that affected you?
Chris: I don’t think it affected me… well, it did affect me, but deep down, it didn’t really hurt as much as I thought it would. It was kind of weird. Because when my mom and my sister told me, like when they had talked to him about it, it didn’t seem to register. Like I said, he would change subject. When I talked to him about it, he would immediately change the subject because they found cuts on his CDs where he would separate and stuff like that. At a car dealership, I mean, he’d find guys that do kind of stuff all the time, I guess. But he was just coping with, I never came back home. Because before I met Shanann, and it was just…
Tammy: Did you feel guilty that he’s using drugs because you never came back home, like he lost his kid?
Chris: I never really knew why he was doing it. After the fact, I knew it was because he was coping with that. I never knew why he actually turned to drugs; my mom thought he was having an affair because all this money was going somewhere else, just for the drugs. Like, myself, I never used drugs. I always tried to tell him, “Hey, what’s going on? Why do you need to use this? You could [sic] this for a whole lot better things. Don’t throw your life away.” Because you could see in his face, eyes were like… everything was getting, like what drugs do to your face and his skin was getting all loose and he was losing a lot of weight. His nose was bleeding all the time and stuff like that and I’d just tell him, “Hey, you smoked every day of your like since you were like 15 or 16. You could stop that, why can’t you stop this?” He put it away, I guess, pretty quick after I talked to him about it.
Grahm/Dave: Do you think you were closer to your dad than your mom?
Chris: Mm-hmm. Yeah, we always went to races together and he always came to my sports, played a couple of school sports, [inaudible 02:33:01] ball, all that kind of stuff. My mom would come to it sometimes; my dad was always there. Even if I wasn’t playing, he’d just come there just in case I went in there, so that’s cool.
Tammy: I wondered if they hadn’t visited because they weren’t ready to visit or if it was a money thing.
Chris: Here or Colorado?
Tammy: Yeah, you.
Chris: Visit here?
Tammy: Yeah, visit here.
Chris: Well, I just told them they can’t drive in the snow.
Tammy: These roads are bad.
Chris: I think it’s like an hour even the Madison Airport, whichever way it is. I told them wait until springtime.
Grahm/Dave: Good advice, it’s pretty brutal.
Tammy: It was yesterday.
Dave: Do they have money to get here?
Chris: They sold my toolbox to get some money to come here. So, they’ll come out here in like, they said April, but I was like, “Maybe push until June.” They said sometimes they have a blizzard out here in April sometimes too. This lake effect stuff is crazy.
On his mental health. He doesn’t really answer the question here.
Grahm/Dave: How are you doing mentally?
Chris: I mean, I didn’t know I was coming here, honestly. When I was at DRDC, I was there a week, like, the first day I got there, they put me through the ringer; I had like eleven tests to do, like mental tests, reading, math, all kinds of test just to see what my IQ was. And then I just sat there the rest of the week and then Sunday came along and after dinner, they said, “All right, strip down and put this on,” walked outside and put me in a van. I had no idea what was going on. Then we stopped in Sterling which really freaked me out. I was just like, “I don’t want to do this,” because I heard so many horror stories about that place and they just stopped there to use the bathroom and then we kept going.
Tammy: In the prison. Did they use the bathroom at the prison?
Chris: Yeah, it was like at the watchtower outside. We went to Nebraska, the sheriff’s office there and then another sheriff’s office in Iowa to use the bathroom, eat breakfast, and then got here. I only talked to them once. I’m like, “Can you tell me where we’re going? Like just a destination state?” He was like, “I don’t know.” It was like one of those transport vans where it just had a middle, where I was sitting there and I could see out the window and I could see they would put in an address each time. They had like four sets of addresses, each one they had to go to. They just would never tell me where we were going to end up.
Tammy: What did they say your IQ was?
Chris: It was like 140, 135 or something like that.
Tammy: Is that high? I don’t know even know what…
Grahm/Dave: That’s above average.
Chris: Those took me back to high school for real. There were a lot of word problems, a lot of geometry, a lot of patterns, like, “If this was moved this way,” and there were like a series of them. Just a lot of stuff like that. The further you go along, the harder it got. They give you this little thing, like, take that pen and take the little tube out in the middle and that’s what you’re using to fill in the little – those scantron sheets and everything.
Grahm/Dave: Do you know how long you’re going to be here? Neither do I, by the way. Are you going to get a job?
Chris: Since I got staffed here, you have to work.
Grahm/Dave: So, what’s your job now?
Chris: I don’t have one yet. They haven’t moved me out of the assessment and evaluation.
Grahm/Dave: You’re still in the phase? Okay. And how long will that take?
Chris: I’m just waiting for them to move me over to a different unit.
Grahm/Dave: Are you in gen-pop right now?
Chris: No. I’m in a unit, there’s like eleven or twelve of us on there. There were like 22 when I first got there, but they’ve been transferred to the other prisons around Wisconsin.
Grahm/Dave: And what are the other guys like?
Chris: They’re fine. The first time I sat out and ate breakfast or lunch with them, I was scared. This never happened. Like, they locked their hallways down when I moved to Colorado. It was like being like this, eating next to somebody, I was just like, are they going to take spork and try to stab me or something? But it’s totally different here. I mean, people know who I am, but they don’t run at me or jump at me. The guys that work here, they know that, I guess other maxes, you’re locked down like 23/22 hours a day.
Grahm/Dave: So, this is an all right place to be?
Chris: For other max guys, yeah. They said it’s the best max but the worst medium. Because if you’re max, you’re working, but you’re out of your cell working like if you’re a clerk or if you’re in the kitchen of if you’re in the rec area, you’re doing something. They said if you get stabbed here, it’ll be best for you. Plus, they said it’s not as rowdy as some of the other places.
Grahm/Dave: That’s pretty intense.
Chris: I’m going to the GP area, they just don’t know when.
Grahm/Dave: You think it’ll be while you’re here?
Chris: Mm-hmm. I guess it takes a lot to move from max to medium because in Colorado, I was classified as minimum restrictive but with the charges it would have been medium, but here it’s automatically max.
Grahm/Dave: What are the other guys in for, do you know?
Chris: They said most of the guys in here are for gangs and sex offenders, mainly people that have 20 years or more.
Grahm/Dave: So, people who are in for a long time and who would otherwise have a pretty hard time at a jail for whatever they did whether it be snitching or children.
Chris: There are some people from other states here as well. I guess there are a couple of cops here too. Things have happened, and they just think it’d be a lot better if they’re here and not on another prison.
Grahm/Dave: What kind of jobs are available?
Chris: They’ll probably have me in the kitchen, that’s where everybody starts out, like either washing dishes or putting food on trays or helping pots and pans, something like that. But they have libraries, they have – I think this is the PSU area, the psych area, so, they’ll have different guys doing clerk stuff around here. They have over 300 GP guys here that live here, so they have a job for every one of them. There’s even a guy that shovels the sidewalks.
Tammy: I think we saw him.
Chris: I don’t know if I want to be that guy.
Tammy: Do you go to therapy? Do you see a psychologist?
Chris: [Inaudible 02:40:35] Javier or something like that, she’s seeing me like once a month. She’s actually from Aurora. It’s weird, I walked in and saw a Bronco flag.
Tammy: So, does she give you therapy?
Chris: No, she just like talks to me just to see if I need anything or like if I need psych meds or anything like that, but I’ve declined all that stuff. Most people in my unit have meds.
Tammy: Just to have them or do you think they need them?
Chris: Well, it’s like a special management unit, like they just put there to keep me away from GP. Most people have some type of medication they’re on.
Tammy: But you don’t take anything?
Chris: No. They just keep me in there until [inaudible 02:41:19] says he can get moved to GP down the hall.
Tammy: What kind of food and stuff do you miss the most from the outside?
Chris: My last time in North Carolina, Bojangles, that was really. You guys ever go to North Carolina?
Grahm/Dave: Is that barbecue?
Chris: It’s chicken and biscuits and that barbecue place down the street from Frederick PD.
Grahm/Dave: Smokehouse, George Bush?
Chris misses Shanann’s cooking, especially her fried pizza
Chris: Yeah, that one. I miss that. I miss Shanann’s cooking, that’s for sure, like her spaghetti sauce and her fried pizza.
Grahm/Dave: Fried pizza?
Chris: Her grandmother on her mom’s side had this homemade dough you could make and just make up the dough and she would make it up with Bella and Celeste sometimes, like a little smaller one, but she would make the really big one. And then, she would put it in the oven, the bottom oven, and let it sit there for a couple of hours, not put it on or anything, just let it rise and then once it’s done, take it out and form it, throw the spaghetti sauce she has, spread it around, and cover it with mozzarella and pepperoni and put the oven on to 350.
Grahm/Dave: What part of it is fried though?
Chris: They have some parts that you can put on the grill, you can put it on the stove too. It’s really good, I mean, it’s really thick.
Grahm/Dave: Are you able to stay out of trouble here? Nobody’s getting into any fights?
Chris: No. I try to keep a low profile here because I don’t want to – because they say if you get like two conduct reports, they’ll ship you out [inaudible 02:43:15].
Grahm/Dave: To another location?
Grahm/Dave: Does that incentivize people to keep their nose down?
Chris: Yeah. Because I guess a couple of guys got busted for having a cell phone. I don’t know how they got it in.
Tammy: No kidding? That just baffles my mind how that stuff gets to —
Chris: If somebody sends me a letter and – like somebody sent me a Christmas card with glitter on it; they wouldn’t let me have it because of the glitter, because it’s contraband. Yeah, I don’t know how people get cell phones up in here?
On letters he receives
Tammy: What do you do with all these letters that are coming into you?
Chris: Most of them, I just have like this – if somebody writes me once, I’ll never write them just because I don’t know who they are, where they’re from. I’ll keep. If it’s a weird letter, I’ll just throw it away. If it’s a supportive letter, I’ll keep it around. I’ve had some people write me a second and third time, but they’ve changed the way they talk, or they send different things. There’s this dude from California that wrote me. He’s a senior in high school and wrote. I look up the name. Tore it up and threw it away. He wrote me again like two weeks ago. Totally different. Like he never mentioned his age, never mentioned, like, “Hey, I support you.” If I didn’t recognize his name, I wouldn’t know he was just some 18-year-old kid, a senior, trying to just get information. There’s been journalists and other people; you can tell, they ask a lot of questions. So, I try to take into effect who’s writing me and just not to respond. I responded to a few people just because my parents have talked to them on the outside and then, I kind of know it’s a real person. But there are some people, it seems like they’re just trying to get help for themselves too. Some people ask just for spiritual advice.
Tammy: They’re asking for spiritual advice from you?
Chris: Yeah. If they’re not asking about the case, I’ll write them back. If they ask about the case, I don’t write them back.
Chris does’t think he’ll be in love again.
Tammy: You think you’ll be in love again?
Tammy: There’s a lot of women out there that are in love with you.
Referring to Steven Avery here…
Chris: No. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m not the guy that’s down the street [inaudible 02:45:48]. I’ve heard enough about that guy since I’ve been here.
Tammy: What have you heard about him?
Chris: He got engaged over a letter.
Tammy: He did, yup.
Chris: That’s pretty insane.
Letters from the ladies and the press.
Tammy: Do you have some ladies that are telling you that they’re in love with you and that kind of stuff?
Chris: Well, I’ve had a couple of letters that have been like, “I hear you get a lot of letters from lady friends that tell you all you need to know.” I’m like, “I don’t get those letters,” trust me. I guess there was one letter in Colorado, someone sent me a picture of them in a bikini and it went on from there. That was the only letter I ever got that was like that, but the press took it and just went with it.
Grahm/Dave: Do ever get a request from the press?
Grahm/Dave: And how does that work?
Chris: Just tear it up and throw it away.
Grahm/Dave: So, you personally are declining?
Chris: I don’t write them back.
Grahm/Dave: Would they allow you to talk with them?
Chris: I don’t know. I guess some stations have asked to come in here and talk to me, but they have told them “no.” I’ve gotten letters from Denver stations and whatnot wanting to talk to me and in quotation marks, “off the record.” I’m like, “Yeah, right.” I just tear it up and throw it away.
Tammy: Have you thought about writing a book or anything like that?
Chris: No, nothing like that. My mom and dad are saying maybe you should write down how you feel or how you’ve been dealing with this, just write it down and that would be my story. But I’m not writing a book. That’s not been. I’ve always had a really crazy imagination, when I was a kid, I even convinced my teacher I went to Japan over the summer or to China or something. But she said, you should write down your story, how you’ve coped with this.
Tammy: Why did you convince your teacher you had gone to another country?
Chris: It was just like, what you did over the summer. And I was like, “I went to China.” She actually believed it. That was really convincing.
Grahm/Dave: Well, you’re a smart dude.
Chris: At the parent-teacher conference, she said, “So, how was China?”
On his life’s purpose now
Grahm/Dave: Earlier you were talking about how you’re going to want to help people. What do you mean by that?
Chris: Just a couple of letters that I’ve gotten, like this one girl, she’s in an abusive relationship and she just can’t find a relationship with God. I never read the bible before all this and in [inaudible 02:48:43] County, I read it, in the segregation hole there, that was the only book I got. And I was like, “Okay.” I read it cover to cover. I never thought I could, being how many pages are in the bible, but it stuck with me and I’ve been reading it more and more here. Like, I’ve got a different version here. I’ve just been reading it and just writing down a couple of scriptures a day, like to give to my mom and dad and they’ve been making a little journal and stuff like that. My Uncle Johnny and his wife, Martha, they’re actually missionaries and my cousin is actually as well. They’ve been helping my mom and dad. They looked at a couple of my letters and they were amazed at how mature I’ve gotten with the bible and everything, the scriptures. One gift I did get was a good memory as far as being able to memorize stuff and that’s what happened with cars and with the oil field, I can [inaudible 02:49:45] and I’ve been memorizing a lot of different scripture. I can help people that way. There’ve been inmates that have left my unit and went to a different place and have written me just to ask, “Can you give me a couple of scriptures to help me through this? Do you know of any?” Maybe I can help somebody that way.