GOLDEN, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – Prosecutors say a teenager who allegedly confessed to killing a 10-year-old Colorado girl and attacking a runner also sexually assaulted the girl.
Seventeen-year-old Austin Sigg was charged as an adult with 17 counts in both cases Tuesday. They include four murder charges.
Sigg didn’t speak during the brief court hearing in Golden and didn’t look at his six relatives in the courtroom that included his mother, Mindy Sigg. His relatives sat silently as the charges were read, unlike the first hearing last week where Sigg’s mother sobbed audibly.
Eight relatives of Jessica Ridgeway, of Westminster, also watched the proceedings, including her mother. Each wore purple, Jessica’s favorite color.
Security was tight and both families were escorted by police through a back door to the hearing. K-9s also roamed the halls during the hearing.
Defense attorneys anticipate asking the judge to send the case to juvenile court. If convicted as an adult, Sigg faces up to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. If he is tried as a juvenile, Sigg faces a maximum of seven years on each conviction, which, if ordered to be served consecutively, would put him in prison for decades.
“At that point in time there would be then a hearing conducted for the judge to decide whether he should be returned to the juvenile court system and be tried as a juvenile,” CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser said.
In charging documents, prosecutors said Sigg acted alone in kidnapping, robbing, and sexually assaulting Jessica. The robbery charge involved Jessica’s backpack and water bottle, which were found in another suburb three days after she disappeared while walking to school Oct. 5.
“Austin Reed Sigg unlawfully and feloniously, acting alone, committed sexual assault, and in the course of or in furtherance of that crime, caused the death of Jessica Ridgeway,” according to court documents.
Police arrested Sigg on Oct. 23 after his mother told The Associated Press that she called police and her son turned himself in.
Clifford Brandon lives in the area and says people associated with the Siggs family have been getting death threats.
“It’s really sad that people would associate some actions of an individual as being part of the entire family,” Brandon said.
Jessica lived on a quiet street about a mile from where Sigg lived with his mother. The subdivision features an elementary school, a high school, small parks, greenbelts, open space and a lake.
Sigg is being held without bond at a youth correctional facility. The charges filed were four counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, sexual assault on a child and robbery in Jessica’s abduction and slaying as well as attempted murder, attempted sexual assault, and attempted second degree kidnapping in the attack on the runner. Prosecutors also charged Sigg with six counts of crime of violence.
“There’s DNA evidence, and the evidence is overwhelming,” prosecutor Hal Sargent said at a hearing Thursday, arguing that Sigg should be held without bail despite having no criminal record.
Police said the runner reported being grabbed from behind by a man who placed a rag with a chemical smell over her mouth. Police have not revealed whether the rag was soaked with a chemical meant to subdue the woman.
Former high school classmates painted a picture of the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Sigg as an intelligent teen who often wore black and complained about school but who would stay late sometimes to work on computers. Sigg was interested in mortuary science and was taking forensics classes, according to classmates.
Sigg enrolled in August at Arapahoe Community College, which offers the state’s only accredited mortuary science program. The school said Sigg didn’t have enough credits yet to apply to that program.
Sigg had left Standley Lake High School in July after finishing the 11th grade and later earned a GED. School officials don’t know why he left.
Former schoolmate Sarah Morevec said Sigg had been bullied for having a high voice.
- Article above written by P. SOLOMON BANDA, Associated Press
Jessica Ridgeway Murder Timeline
- Jessica Ridgeway, 10, disappeared on her way to school on the morning of Oct. 5, 2012. After leaving her Westminster home on foot, she never met up with friends she normally walks to school with at Chelsea Park. The park is about three blocks from her home and about a mile from the school.
- When she didn’t arrive at Witt Elementary School in Westminster, Jefferson County Schools officials tried to contact her mother. They made a call at 10 a.m. but were only able to leave a voicemail. Ridgeway’s mother, who works an overnight shift and sleeps during the day, didn’t get the message until 4:30 p.m. and immediately contacted Westminster police.
- It took about five hours before the protocols were met in the case for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to call an Amber Alert. Soon after major searches were under way for the girl.
- Searches took place around Ridgeway’s home and her school, as well as in open space areas in Westminster. Another area that underwent an extensive search was Rock Creek and open space areas near there. Ridgeway’s backpack was found on the sidewalk in that neighborhood in Superior, 6.4 miles away from her home.
- A day after their tearful televised plea for help and thanks to the community, police on Oct. 10 ruled out Ridgeway’s parents as being involved in her disappearance. Police said Ridgeway may have been abducted by an unknown suspect.
- Late in the day on Oct. 11 Ridgeway’s body was found in Arvada on Highway near Pattridge Park Open Space and Highway 93, about seven miles from hers home.
- Police arrested Austin Reed Sigg, 17, at his home in the 10600 block of 102nd Avenue on Oct. 23, 2012. According to the police report, Sigg confessed to police and waived his rights when taken into custody.
- Prosecutors filed murder, robbery and sexual assault charges against Sigg in the case on Oct. 30, 2012. Sigg was charged as an adult, and also was charged with attacking a jogger at Ketner Lake Open Space Park over Memorial Day weekend in 2012.
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