Hearing on release of Watts autopsies set for December

Times-Call (Longmont): The hearing on a petition to seal the autopsy reports in the murder case against Christopher Watts will be Dec. 21 in Weld County District Court.

The Weld County coroner on Oct. 15 filed a petition to seal the autopsies of 34-year-old Shanann Watts, and her two children, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. Christoper Watts, 33, is accused of killing his wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and two daughters. He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

Weld County District Court Judge Todd Taylor last week filed an order calling on the coroner to file for a hearing by this Friday.

Around 35 parties have filed Colorado Open Records Act requests for the autopsies. A number of those requests are from media organizations, including the Longmont Times-Call, which are being represented by Steven Zansberg of Ballard, Spahr, LLP in Denver.

The coroner filed the petition to seal the reports citing arguments made previously by Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke. Rourke argued the reports could taint potential jurors or witnesses who have not yet been interviewed.

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