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Lawyer Criticizes Questioning In Ridgeway Case

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Austin Sigg (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff)

Austin Sigg (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff)

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GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) – An attorney for a teenager charged in the slaying and dismemberment of a 10-year-old Westminster girl said Friday his client was separated from his mother and was denied the opportunity to seek her advice after he was read his rights.

Attorney Ryan Loewer said during a motions hearing that police failed to get verbal consent from Austin Sigg’s mother before they told him his Miranda rights and he was taken into custody Oct. 23.

Sigg, who was 17 when he was arrested, has pleaded not guilty in the October death of Jessica Ridgeway, of Westminster. He also has denied charges stemming from an attack on a 22-year-old jogger at a lake in the girl’s neighborhood five months earlier.

Officer Albert Stutson, with the Westminster Police Department’s Special Enforcement Team, testified Friday he read Sigg his rights inside the teenager’s home while the mother was outside. Sigg was read his rights again in his mother’s presence once officers realized he was a minor, said Stutson, who added that the teen’s mother shook her head “no” when he asked if she had any questions about her son’s rights.

But Loewer argued that after Sigg was taken to the police department for questioning, he was never told he could ask his mother’s advice or have her present.

Sigg, now 18, is charged with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery, as well as three counts of sexual exploitation of a child after authorities said they found child pornography during the investigation. Detectives say he has denied sexually assaulting Jessica but confessed to killing her.

The fifth-grader disappeared while walking to school Oct. 5. Hundreds of police and residents searched for her, and parents escorted their children to and from school. Her torso was found in a secluded park Oct. 10.

Sigg’s lawyers also said Friday they want to move the trial, arguing that the intense media coverage of Jessica’s kidnapping and death makes it impossible for their client to receive a fair trial in Jefferson County. They have also asked to close the proceedings to the public.

District Judge Stephen Munsinger has not ruled on any of the requests.

Sigg, who is scheduled to go to trial in September, can’t face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the slaying.

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

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