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Jessica Ridgeway's killer Austin Sigg sentenced to life in prison

9:48 PM, Nov 19, 2013   |    comments
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JEFFERSON COUNTY - A teenager who killed and dismembered a 10-year-old Westminster girl was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison plus 86 years for all of the charges he faced.


Austin Sigg's life in prison sentence was for the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. Sigg was also sentenced for his kidnapping, sexual assault and sexual exploitation charges. Sigg was also sentenced to 48 years for kidnapping. 9NEWS Legal Analyst Scott Robinson said the soonest Sigg would be eligible for parole would be in 101 years. An appeal would likely result in the sentence being upheld, according to Robinson. A future governor could pardon Sigg at some point, but that would be the only possibility of Sigg being released from prison

After the sentencing was read, the judge kept emphasizing that he could not understand how this crime was committed. He used Sigg's own words against him saying "I'm a monster for what I've done." Then, the judge ordered that Sigg be taken back to prison for the "rest of his natural life."

Post-sentencing press conference

The Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Weir said the community should be proud of law enforcement workers who came together to seek justice for Jessica. "The full weight of the law has come to bear on Austin Sigg," Weir said on Tuesday.

"Austin Sigg deserved everything he got," Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said.

Birk went on to commend the Ridgeway family. He said their strength inspired him.

In the press conference, several police and investigators said this was the most horrific crime they had ever seen.

"[This] was truly a reflection of pure evil," Birk said.

Tuesday before the sentencing

On Tuesday morning, the prosecution in the case said they were seeking life without parole for 18-year-old Sigg, who previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Jessica's death in October 2012.

"There's no better word to describe what I've done than evil," Sigg testified on Tuesday.

The FBI said they have never seen an offense committed like this by a juvenile.

[WARNING: Graphic Details] Sigg Search Warrants and Arrest Affidavit

Sigg did not testify in court due to his age and the presence of cameras in the courtroom, it was announced on Tuesday.

The prosecution was hoping for life plus 99 years for Sigg so that he dies in prison for what he did to Jessica.

The Jefferson County prosecutor said on Tuesday that Sigg was "broken ... dangerous," and that there was "no fix for him."

The defense team argued that mandatory life without parole sentence for a juvenile was "unconstitutional."

Monday's occurrences during sentencing

On Monday, Jessica's family and friends urged a judge to impose the maximum sentence on Sigg.

Sigg does not face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of Jessica's death.

Psychologist Anna Salter, hired by the prosecution, told a judge on Monday that Austin Sigg was "sadistic" and "narcissistic" when he kidnapped and subsequently dismembered Jessica's body.

Defense attorney Katherine Spengler pointed out that Salter only reviewed records provided by prosecutors and didn't know Sigg's mother inhaled paint fumes and fell down stairs before his birth.

She also said Sigg was born with an abnormality in his intestines as well as a head deformity caused by his birth by vacuum extraction.

Salter was first to testify during what's expected to be a two-day sentencing hearing for Sigg. She told the judge Sigg's behavior was "extremely rare" for a teenager. She added that "considerable care was given to avoiding detection."

Salter also said Sigg "remembers everything he did."

She testified Sigg had not been abused as a child and actually grew up in a loving household, despite his parent's divorce.

Ridgeway's mother: Killer's name to be forgotten

Jessica's mother says Sigg doesn't deserve to know how the girl's death has affected her, and his name will soon be forgotten.

Sarah Ridgeway made her brief comments during Monday's hearing. She told Sigg that while his name will be forgotten, people will remember the "legacy that Jessica left behind."


In October 2013, Sigg defied the advice of his attorneys and pleaded guilty to all charges against him for both Ridgeway's death and the attempted kidnapping of a jogger at Ketner Lake.

"It's not unprecedented for the defendant to plead guilty to all of the charges of the trial. But it's rather unusual," Robinson said.

In October 2012, Jessica was kidnapped on her way to school in Westminster. Her dismembered body was found in Arvada.

Robinson further explained why Sigg isn't eligible for the death penalty.

"A few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an individual who was a minor at the time of a capital offense could not be executed," Robinson said. "Then, they further ruled that a life sentence without the possibility of parole was cruel and unusual punishment. Hence, Colorado amended its statute."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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