Judge sentences Austin Sigg to life in prison for murder of Jessica Ridgeway

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- Jessica Ridgeway's killer, Austin Sigg, will spend the rest of his life in prison, a Jefferson County judge ruled Tuesday morning.

Sigg had no emotion on his face when the judge read his sentence -- life in prison on the charge of first-degree murder.  Sigg was also given consecutive sentences up to 86 years in prison for other charges, including sexual assault and kidnapping. The sentencing, while technically including the potential for parole, essentially ensures Sigg will die in prison.

District Court Chief Judge Stephen Munsinger told Sigg, "I expect you to spend the rest of your natural life in prison," after he announced the sentence.

Sigg's mother, Mindy Sigg, was sobbing after the sentence was read. Sigg himself did not react.

Jessica's murder "was truly a reflection of pure evil," Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said during a news conference.

Sigg pleaded guilty to kidnapping, killing and mutilating Jessica in October 2012. He later admitted to his mother he committed the crime and was arrested.

He pleaded guilty to 15 felony counts, including first-degree murder, in October this year.  Sigg also pleaded guilty to attacking a female jogger in an unrelated case.

Sigg committed the crime when he was 17 making him ineligible for the death penalty.

Tuesday was the second of two days of testimony before the judge handed down his sentence. Sigg did not address the court during the hearing partly because of his age and partly because it would be recorded.

Prosecutors wanted Sigg to serve consecutive terms, meaning he would never leave prison. The defense wanted to the judge to allow Sigg's sentences to be served at the same time for all counts, potentially making him eligible for parole.

Members of Jessica’s family filled two rows in the courtroom. On Monday, Jessica's grandmother, Angie Moss, called Sigg a “monster” who “shattered the core of our family.”

Defense argued for leniency; says Sigg had mental health issues

Sigg showed signs of ADD and OCD as a child, his attorney said, but these issues were not addressed in any significant way.

The defense hoped the evidence about his mental health history showed Sigg was not in a sane state of mind when he killed and mutilated Jessica.

"We've tried to put our adult rational framework on his actions," a Sigg defense attorney said. "That's exactly what we can't do. We are not talking about someone who is developmentally an adult."

"He is someone who derives pleasure in pain. He derives pleasure in dismemberment," prosecutors said. "Any claim that this man lacked the executive function to plan and exercise a plan is proved false by his actions."

Prosecutors described kidnapping, murder

EDITORS NOTE: Descriptions below are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers

Chief Deputy District Attorney Hal Sargent described the nearly two hours that Sigg kept Jessica in his room after abducting her on Oct. 5 as she was walking to school.

"It's painful to imagine what he did to her in that time," Sargent said.

Jessica's mother was escorted out of the courtroom before Sargent spoke. Sigg's mother was hunched over and cried.

Sargent said Sigg strangled Jessica with zip ties but, as he later told police, he didn't have the leverage to stop her breathing. Sargent said he strangled Jessica with his hands for up to three minutes before she died. Later, when he saw her body twitching, Sigg placed Jessica in a bathtub with scalding-hot water and forced her face into it.

Jessica was then dismembered and her body parts separated. Sigg kept Jessica's skull and several of her organs. Other parts of her body were found in an Arvada field days after she was kidnapped.

"It's a chilling thought to think of what a fully matured Austin Sigg is capable of," Sargent said in asking for a life sentence.

22 comments

  • Colorado22

    This article should say, “On Tuesday morning a judge . . .” not, “. . . For murdering Jessica on Tuesday morning.” He didnt murder her on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday morning he was sentenced to life in prison. The first sentence is misleading.

  • Ana C

    I really feel for his mom and Jessica’s family. I know it must have been the hardest thing for his mom to do. She did it and I have nothing but respect for her. As for him I hope he rots in prison.

  • Heather

    there is no justice harsh enough for what he did to that beautiful ray of sunshine. May God have mercy on his soul — oh wait, he has no soul. Good luck mf!!!

  • Mark

    This is the exact kind of situation that calls for the death penalty. Let’s save Colorado tax payers some money and execute him!

  • Betsy Shore

    Hey Mark, you and I both know that he will be dealt with by fellow prisoners. The prisoners have a code, and child molesters are the very scum and bottom of the heirarch in prison. I doubt this creep will be alive a year from now.

  • Betsy Shore

    Go for it fellow inmates, this man deserves not one iota of peace. For his destruction of a beautiful sweet soul, he deserves whatever you can come up with.

  • Tatyana

    I hope that his defense attorney was not implying that him having ADD & OCD which was never addressed had anything to do with what he did! I have ADD & Bipolar and I wasn’t diagnosed until my early 20’s and I have never once even thought about harming another person.

  • Mikey

    does his defense team actually believe what they said about the scum bag(if so there just as worthless as he is )

  • S2

    I would be happy to take care of this guy with a 7.62 and about 2 bucks of ammo. No questions asked. I personally went through a similar situation in July 1978, don’t cross me again.

  • Dustin

    He will hit general population someday. I hope his fellow inmates don’t end his miserable existance though. Years of torture is well deserved in this case.

  • Fast45

    Sad to see that as a society, we have become so weak and spineless that simple decisions regarding the worst-of-the-worst cannot be made. Rope is cheap … trees are everywhere. Let him swing!

  • Juan Leg

    I’m a 45 yr old man who many consider a ‘stone’. Not a day passes I’m not reduced to tears at the thought of such a beautiful, lost, young life. I live blocks from an Elementary school & a day hasn’t past my Rottweiler and I haven’t been out circling the streets, walking along w/ the children. NOT ON OUR WATCH ! I encourage others to do the same to prevent this from occurring in our own neighborhoods !
    Burn in hell creep !!!

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