DENVER (CBS4) – The teenager who confessed to killing Jessica Ridgeway set the stage for a potential court battle.
Despite the confession, Austin Sigg, 18, pleaded not guilty to the 10-year-old’s murder.
After Friday’s plea of not guilty, the judge set a trial date for September, estimated to last three weeks, which means it will stretch on in to October — almost a year after Ridgeway was killed. But things could change later on if the district attorney decides to offer Sigg a plea deal.
During the preliminary hearing in February, a recorded conversation between Sigg and a police dispatcher was played in the courtroom. Sigg confessed saying, “I murdered Jessica Ridgeway. I have proof that I did it.”
“No matter how overwhelming the evidence may be, no matter where there have been confessions, everyone is entitled to plead not guilty,” CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser said.
Steinhauser said the confession itself will have to be closely analyzed.
“There may be some other issues that the defense wants to look at with regards to the nature of that confession, how it was made, to whom it was made,” she said.
Despite the plea entered Friday, Sigg could always take a plea deal at a later date.
“Just because there’s a plea of not guilty, doesn’t mean there’s going to be a trial in this case,” Steinhauser said.
Sigg’s next court date is scheduled for May 3.