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Austin Sigg faces new charges in Jessica Ridgeway murder case

Austin Sigg (Photo: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

Austin Sigg (Photo: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — The 17-year-old accused of kidnapping and murdering Jessica Ridgeway was told at his first court appearance that he would face 17 charges.

Six weeks later, during his first court appearance since learning he would be tried as an adult, Austin Sigg was told Wednesday that he will be facing two additional charges.

One charge for sexual assault on a child and another for crime of violence will run the total list of charges against Sigg to 19.

Sigg’s defense team, which already lost its appeal to have their client tried as a juvenile, didn’t stand by quietly Wednesday. SIgg’s attorney said the media coverage of this trial has become “massive and pervasive,” and that the publicity has made it “nearly impossible to seat an impartial jury” in Jefferson County.

The judge agreed in part with the defense’s argument. He banned the media and the public from the court room for Sigg’s preliminary hearing, which is set for Feb. 22.

However, the judge issued no decision on the change of venue request Wednesday.

Sigg’s defense team also stated that their client has been voluntarily speaking to jail guards, and that information from those conversations has been passed on to the District Attorney. The judge ruled this practice must stop.

Ridgeway was reported missing on Oct. 5. Her body was discovered in pieces in an Arvada open space on Oct. 10.

In addition to more than a dozen charges for the Ridgeway murder, Sigg faces charges for allegedly attempting to kidnap, sexually assault and murder a jogger at Ketner Lake over Memorial Day.

If convicted, Sigg could face life in prison. He would likely be eligible for parole after the first 40 years of such a sentence.