GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – There could be a plea deal just days before Jessica Ridgeway’s accused killer was to stand trial.
Ridgeway is a 10-year-old girl from Westminster who disappeared on her way to school last October and later found dead.
It was suddenly announced Monday afternoon that there would be a hearing for suspect Austin Sigg on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Jefferson County District Court. The purpose is to discuss a possible plea deal in the very prominent case.
There was a massive search for Ridgeway after her disappearance and the case gripped Colorado by the heart. Police and other law enforcement agencies mobilized throughout the area. A clue came in the form of a cross believed connected to the girl’s disappearance. The cross and DNA testing led them to Sigg’s home.
Sigg’s arrest came through with the help of his mother. She called police to say her son had confessed to her.
Friends say Sigg had an obsession with death and was studying mortuary science. Body parts allegedly of Ridgeway’s were found inside his home and pornography was found on his computer.
At one court hearing a call to police was played with Sigg getting on the line and admitting to the murder of Ridgeway.
Sigg is also charged in connection with an attempted abduction of a jogger at Ketner Reservoir. Sigg also admitted to that crime in the phone call to police but he had pleaded not guilty in court. The case has been set to go to trial with the jury selection process already underway.
If the trial does happen, Sigg faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.
CBS4 legal analyst Karen Steinhauser is a former prosecutor. She says the victims and their families were consulted about a plea, but its unlikely they had the final say.
“That’s something that the prosecutors will listen to. It’s not going to be the deciding factor but there is the emotional toll in these kinds of cases. The emotional toll of trials is huge,” she said.
Sigg declined CBS4’s request to comment. There is a gag order in the case and none of the details of the possible plea deal have been made public.