Murder suspects go the extra mile to hide myriad details around their diabolical deeds. When they make voluntary disclosures, what are we to make of them?
An example of one of these disclosures is the fine-tuning of Chris Watts’ timeline, moving his “emotional discussion” with Shan’ann from 05:00 backwards in time by a full hour to 04:00.
If your answer is that he shifted the timeline because he realized he needed more time, think again. Why wouldn’t +-27 minutes be enough time to carry two little girls to his car, and then Shan’ann, and drive off?
In theory it could take 20-30 minutes to have their conversation and commit the murders, 2 minutes to move the car into position and 5 minutes to load his victims. If all three victims were murdered in short succession of one another, why the need for an extra hour?
The point to this question isn’t the shifting of the timelines at all, but why he started with 05:00 to begin with? In addition to this, Chris Watts’ disclosure wasn’t completely voluntary either. A murder suspect must hang his hat on a particular version of events, so when he was asked when was the last time you saw Shan’ann, he had to have a version!
But why start with 5?
We find the answer not by projecting ourselves or our thoughts onto this case, but by interrogating and intuiting Chris Watts’ thoughts. The first aspect he has to deal with is plausible deniability. Shan’ann arrives home late at night and ends up dead early in the morning. The question then becomes – where were you and what were you doing the whole time?
If Chris Watts pushes their conversation out to 05:00, then what he’s suggesting is that he and she were harmlessly and innocently both asleep, at least between 02:00 and 05:00. Three hours isn’t much, but it’s better than being awake for that period and doing…well…who knows what, and having to explain what he was doing for three whole hours in the dead of night.
Also, the shorter the space of time the shorter the “violence” of the argument.
For the same reason, Chris Watts wouldn’t want to concede that the argument with Shan’ann occurred at 04:00 if he didn’t have to. Between 02:00 and 04:00 is just two hours. But in this version, well, now there’s a suggestion that maybe they didn’t go sleep at all. Maybe one or both of them were awake throughout all those critical hours?
The changing of his story also had to do with information coming through from other sources. So for example, he didn’t leave at 05:15 as he initially claimed, but more than 12 minutes later after 05:27. In this sense his “volunteering” of information isn’t quite as voluntary as it seems.
So at the same time that he’s pushing the timeline back to 04:00, he’s also pushing his departure time back by at least twelve minutes. He may have done the latter to make his late departure on August 13th not seem quite so late and beyond the norm after all. In other words, the emotional conversation was what delayed him, not the murder, cover-up and loading of bodies.
Once the surveillance footage is integrated into his version [in terms of Shan’ann and the kids never leaving the house alive], then he must integrate that aspect into his departure.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s 05:00 or 04:00 though, neither time is correct, but the change to 04:00 does volunteer that in Chris Watts’ mind, various events needed time to play out. According to Chris Watts it took three minutes shy of 100 minutes [60 + 37] for the three murders to happen.
In TWO FACE I make the case why the crime at Saratoga Trail took three hours to play out at least, but possibly – probably? – twice as long or even longer.*
*If the duration of the crime scene at Saratoga Trail was six hours from beginning to end, and the crime ended with his departure at 05:27, then it started at 23:27. If nine hours, then the murders began on August 12th from approximately 21:00 onward. If twelve hours, then the murders started at around 18:00, presumably close to the time Chris Watts was barbecuing on his balcony.