Judge accepts Austin Sigg guilty plea in Jessica Ridgeway murder case

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Almost a year after Jessica Ridgeway disappeared while walking to her Westminster school, the man accused of killing her plead guilty to charges Tuesday.

The judge accepted Austin Sigg's guilty plea, even though his attorneys advised him to do otherwise.

He plead guilty to 15 counts including first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault on a child.

The plea also included charges Sigg faced for attacking a woman at Kitner Lake in Westminster.

"Today Mr. Sigg pled guilty to all charges. He has been held fully accountable for his criminal acts.  There was no plea bargain. There was no 'deal'", said District Attorney Peter Weir.

Sigg will be sentenced in November.  Because he was 17 at the time of the murder, he cannot receive the death penalty.

Prosecutors said they want Sigg to serve consecutive sentences for the charges against him. Such a sentence could mean Sigg's sentence would "exceed his natural life," they said.

Sigg's defense attorneys asked the judge for his sentence to be served concurrently due to  juvenile guidelines.  Sigg was 17 when he was arrested, but was charged as an adult.

Ridgeway's family was in the courtroom for the hearing.  They wore purple, Jessica's favorite color.

Chief Judge Stephen M. Munsinger decided to lift the gag order in the case, which allowed prosecutors and police to talk about it.

During a news conference after the hearing, Westminster Chief of Police Lee Birk commended the family for their perseverance and strength.

"They're an amazing family," he said.

Sigg's father, Rob, issued a statement saying he was "thankful the Ridgeway family will be spared the ordeal of a trial."

"We ask the community to continue to support the Ridgeway family and keep them in your thoughts and prayers," Rob Sigg said.

Ridgeway, 10, disappeared Oct. 5. An Amber Alert was issued and a hundreds of volunteers looked for the girl for several days.

Five days later her body was discovered in an Arvada field.

Jessica Ridgeway

Jessica Ridgeway.

Later in the month, as police searched for a suspect, they announced that the Ridgway murder was connected to an attack against a jogger at Kitner Lake in Westminster during Memorial Day weekend.

On Oct. 23, Westminster police arrested Sigg, then 17, after he allegedly admitted to his mother that he killed Ridgeway.

Sigg initially faced 17 charges, including six for the attack at Ketner Lake.

Prosecutors said they had DNA evidence that linked Sigg to Ridgeway and a confession from him.

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3 comments

  • Lori Miller

    That’s the problem with some defense attorneys. They discourage guilty people from pleading guilty to get a lesser sentence. Just being spared the death penalty should be considered a lesser sentence. Shame on those attorneys!

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