At 12:56 in the audio clip below, a female reporter abruptly asks Chris Watts about his shirt. Reporters [and in court trial lawyers] often make the mistake of asking vague and open-ended questions. There’s a place for that, but there’s also a place for targeted interrogation.
Direct and specific questions tend to catch suspects off guard, and sometimes the silliest question [if it’s informed] can solicit an unexpected insight. Well, this was one of those.
REPORTER: Shan’ann went tuh…where’d you get that shirt?
WATTS: Oh…this is uh…I think she got it off Amazon, but this is the…my favorite college sports team.
REPORTER: Sh-she…was-wasn’t she just there?
WATTS: She was-yeah, North Carolina, yep. She prob-she actually probably got it from there. Usually she gets stuff from Amazon. But this one…I like these shirts [laughs] a lot.
There’s so much to mine out of this brief repartee. Firstly, especially when one listens to the same clip a few times, it actually sounds like the female reporter is purposefully trying to catch him out – catch him in a lie.
One suspects she was one of a few journos listening-in while he was giving his spiel and the more he said, the less she was buying it.
Now, when she asks her question, she misspeaks, basically firing off the punchline by mistake before she can lead him into her snare. Kudos to her, she changes her question in mid-sentence, making it sound like she’s forgotten what she meant to say and then just throws out a random question, except it’s not random.
The second point is that the reporter does actually succeed in catching Watts in a little lie. The fact that he lies about something so seemingly insignificant suggests this guy is a lot sneakier in general than we suspect. If he lies casually like this to the media didn’t he lie about anything and everything?
When we look at images of Watts, we forget he’s facing at least half a dozen journos – strangers – standing around him. He’s a fox in front of the media, isn’t he? A silver fox trying to outsmart the journos.
Apparently he’d outsmarted Shan’ann with his smoothness, and it had gotten him this far. Or so he thought. Maybe some wives give the impression to some husbands that they’re good liars, and it leads to false confidence.
The third insight from this short dialogue is that Chris Watts admits to being a big sports buff. I’ve written a previous blog probing at the events that played out over the weekend prior to the murders, and it’s certain there were a bunch of big sporting events he would have wanted to catch. The Carolina Tar Heels first football game of the season, however, was on September 1st. Watts was in jail when they lost 17 – 24 to California.
There’s something that feels immature about this guy standing on the porch in shorts and slops on a work day, a week day, wearing a t-shirt with the logo of his “favorite” college football, talking to the media about his missing [murdered] family.
It’s difficult to say what it is exactly. Reading between the lines, although Watts avoids saying his wife’s name, he admits that his wife bought him the shirt. There’s a sense there of coddling, assuming it’s true. Consider the cruel irony, to be standing there with your wife dead and buried, wearing the t-shirt she ‘s given to him, and luxuriating in being able to wear the shirt of his favorite sports team while shrugging and smiling for the cameras. It speaks, I think of conceit. And selfishness.
Finally the reporter reminds Watts that she’s aware that Shan’ann was just in North Carolina, and then, easy-as-you please, he changes his story to say Shan’ann didn’t buy it on Amazon after all, but bought it while she was in North Carolina. Actually she probably bought it for him while he was there with her, otherwise when else would she have given it to him?
In addition, there are a few incidental observations surrounding the t-shirt worth highlighting:
That white object appears to be a holder for the garage keypad. It’s not a light, the exterior lights are similar to the one above Watts head.
The light on the wall where the keypad is, is just out of picture.
A zoomed in view confirms the lower part of this plastic object appears to be a receptacle for the remote, which slots in from above.
Finally, Watts isn’t wearing a watch or wedding ring in these pictures. Going through the archive it’s a mixed bag, with some photos showing him wearing what appears to be a black wedding band, and often a colored wristband on the opposite wrist, and sometimes a watch, but not always. The physical and greasy nature of his work probably meant he often had to remove things from his finger and wrists when he was getting his hands dirty.