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Colorado man suspected of murdering family gave speech on relationships in 2012 video

Christopher Watts taped the presentation, which gives tips on maintaining a strong bond with one's partner, as part of a college communications class.
by Elizabeth Chuck /

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A Colorado man charged with murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters doled out relationship advice in a PowerPoint presentation he posted on YouTube six years ago.

Titled "Communication Speech, Relationship Deterioration and Repair," the video shows Christopher Watts in a black button-down shirt and jeans, standing in a kitchen and glancing at presentation notes as he speaks.

Citing research on relationships, Watts outlines ways to strengthen the bond between partners as well as how to tell when it's time to leave a relationship.

"Sometimes when you get married, that lust, some of the desire, kind of falls upon the wayside a little bit, but if you want the relationship to keep going, I would suggest maybe go to a place where you first met, or go bungee-jumping. Go somewhere that will bring the excitement back," Watts says at one point during the nearly 10-minute-long video.

The video, posted in April 2012, appears to have been for an assignment for a communications class Watts was enrolled in. The caption says it’s his “speech for communication class,” and in the video he states that it’s for Brenda Armentrout — a professor who was in the communications department at Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina but has since mostly retired, a spokesman for the college confirmed to NBC News.

Armentrout did not return a request for comment.

Watts, 33, appealed on national television last week for the safe return of his missing wife, Shanann Watts, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and their little girls, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

Days later, authorities found the bodies of all three. Police said Watts told them that he buried his wife in a shallow grave near where he dumped the girls inside the oil tanks on the property of the oil and natural gas company where he works.

Court documents stated that a police investigation revealed Watts was "actively involved in an affair with a co-worker." Watts told police that he had informed his wife in on Aug. 13 he wanted a separation.

In the video, which a friend of his verified to NBC News belonged to Watts, Watts mentions infidelity as a cause of deterioration of a relationship, even referencing affairs between co-workers.

Shanann Watts, 34, and her daughters have been reported missing.
Shanann Watts, 34, and her daughters.Frederick Police Department

"When somebody is not faithful to their partner, the partners realize that the relationship cannot be sustained," he says. "If you met somebody at work, or a new friendship has occurred and as it goes on you see that, okay, maybe this relationship has more potential than the relationship I have with my partner, and that will gradually push the old relationship out and push the new relationship in."

He also lists questions that should be asked if a relationship is worth salvaging: "Do I have the desire to keep this relationship going? Do I have a moral obligation to stay in this relationship? Or is it a necessity for me to stay in this relationship?"

"According to my research," he continued, "sometimes a necessity could be children. Sometimes when you have children and your relationship starts to deteriorate, a child could repair it."

Watts has told investigators that his wife strangled their daughters after he told her he wanted to separate, and that he then strangled her in a fit of rage. But prosecutors didn't buy his story, and charged him with the deaths of the mother and two girls.

After finishing his presentation in the 2012 video, Watts gets applause from four people sitting on a couch across the room. It's unclear what their relationship with him is. Shanann Watts does not appear to be in the video.

It is not known whether the presentation was ever delivered at the college, or whether the video shows some kind of rehearsal of the presentation. Watts states in the video that he is in Colorado at the time. He moved to Colorado sometime in 2012 after marrying Shanann in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Central Piedmont Community College spokesman Jeff Lowrance told NBC News that Watts attended the school for the spring semester of 2012, but said he did not earn any credentials or complete any programs. Lowrance was unable to provide any details on what specific classes Watts might have taken, or say whether Watts came up with the topic for the speech himself or whether he was assigned it.

Watts says in the video that "good communication" is key to strong relationships.

At one point, he references his own weaknesses in communicating.

"Think clearly before saying things you may later forget. Don't just blurt out something. Think about it," he says.

Then, with a chuckle, he adds: "The first thing that comes to your mind, it might be wrong. I do that, too."

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