GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– The judge in the murder trial of Jessica Ridgeway will take a jury pool from Jefferson County in the high-profile case.
Austin Sigg, 18, has pleaded not guilty in the October 2012 death of 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.
Sigg’s attorneys want his trial moved out of Jeffco. They brought in a polling expert to testify in court that Sigg is too recognizable to get a fair trial.
Paul Talmey conducted polling for the defense team. Of the people questioned in Jeffco 19 percent named Sigg at Ridgeway’s suspected killer.
Talmey said the Ridgeway kidnapping and murder is still very fresh in their minds, especially in the county where it happened.
Talmey said he did not feel Sigg would get a fair trial based on the polling results. Of those who recognizes Sigg 55 percent were willing to state he is guilty of the crime.
The judge decided to defer a change of venue decision and plans to bring in 800 men and women to screen for a jury panel. Then he will decide if Sigg can get a fair trial before making a venue decision.
The judge also allowed testimony from a defense witness who is an expert in childhood brain development. Prosecutors said the defense plans to introduce evidence that Sigg suffered a brain trauma.
The judge also denied the defense’s motion to continue the trial. That means jury selection will begin Sept. 20 with the trial scheduled to begin Oct. 3.