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Teen Accused In Jessica Ridgeway Murder Appears In Court

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An artist's drawing of Austin Sigg in court March 12.  (credit: CBS)

An artist’s drawing of Austin Sigg in court March 12. (credit: CBS)

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GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)- The teen accused of murdering Jessica Ridgeway appeared in court on Thursday and his mother took the stand with some emotional testimony.

Austin Sigg was back in court for the latest hearing in the murder case of the 10-year-old Westminster girl.

Much of the day’s proceedings was spent discussing if police properly informed Sigg and his mother of their rights since Sigg was a minor at the time of his arrest.

Sigg, who was 17 when he was arrested, has pleaded not guilty in the October 2012 death of Ridgeway. 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.

Jessica Ridgeway (credit: JessicaRidgeway.com)

Jessica Ridgeway (credit: JessicaRidgeway.com)

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, 2012. 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, 2012.

Sigg’s mother, Mindy Sigg, was emotional on the stand Wednesday, with tears flowing down her face at times, as she recalled turning in her son to police after he confessed to her that he killed Ridgeway.

Mindy testified that she waived her rights to be in the interrogation room with Sigg when he was interviewed by police. But it was done under the condition that Sigg be asked if he wanted his mother or father there.

A detective also took the stand and testified that Sigg said that was okay that he be alone with police during interrogation.

The defense is arguing that Sigg wasn’t properly advised of his rights to have a parent present and pointed out that Sigg and his mother didn’t have an opportunity to meet privately before interrogation.

Detective Mike Lynch told the judge the two had plenty of time to talk before Mindy made that 911 call.

Mindy said she called police about an hour and a half after he confessed to her that he killed Ridgeway.

“If there was evidence that came about because of an involuntary confession then that can have an effect on if other evidence can be introduced in the trial or not,” said CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser. “It’s this concept that we call the fruit of the poisonous tree. So basically we’re looking at was evidence obtained because of an illegal confession and if so, does that evidence have to be excluded as well.”

Ridgeway’s mother was in court and listened to the testimony.

When details of her daughter’s death were presented, she was crying and taking deep breaths.

Apparently Ridgeway asked if she would ever see her mother again before she was strangled.

On Wednesday the defense is expected to call the Ketner Lake jogger as a witness. Detectives gathered DNA evidence they said links Sigg to the attempted kidnapping in that case from May 2012.

They are requesting that Sigg not be in the courtroom during her testimony.

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