Judge Defends Decision To Close Jessica Ridgeway Murder Hearing

DENVER (AP) – A Jefferson County judge is defending the unusual move of closing a key hearing for a teen accused of killing a 10-year-old Westminster girl and attacking a jogger.

Judge Stephen Munsinger on Monday asked the Colorado Supreme Court to clarify standards for closing a hearing.

Munsinger has closed the Feb. 22 preliminary hearing for 18-year-old Austin Sigg to the public. He said he wants to ensure a fair trial and to protect the privacy of victims and their families.

Austin Sigg (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff)

Austin Sigg (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff)

Prosecutors and media organizations, including The Associated Press, argue that Munsinger didn’t hear evidence or consider alternatives before closing the hearing.

Sigg is accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in October and of attacking a jogger in May.

Sigg’s attorneys say they’ll weigh in by Feb. 19.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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