KUSA - Austin Sigg, who is accused of kidnapping and killing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, appeared in court on Friday morning for a motions hearing.
Besides the murder of Jessica, Sigg is also accused of an attack on a jogger at Ketner Lake over Memorial Day weekend in 2012.
Originally, those cases were set to be tried in the same proceeding. However, on Friday afternoon, the judge in the case decided to sever the two cases against Sigg so that the jury would not be overwhelmed by the amount of disturbing evidence in the Ridgeway case.
The criminal counts for the Ridgeway case will not be allowed to be used during the Ketner Lake attempted-kidnapping trial. However, the prosecution in the Ridgeway case will be allowed to use the Ketner Lake accusations in their case.
The jogger accusing Sigg of attacking her testified Friday morning. During court on Friday, the jogger was identified as "VN."
The defense asked VN about the police sketch and how she participated with the police in the creation of the sketch after her May 29 attack. The sketch did not get done until October. Sigg was arrested on the night of Oct. 23, after his mother, Mindy Sigg, called police and said that her son had killed Jessica.
VN was also asked about the photo lineup she was presented because the defense wanted the positive identification VN gave to be suppressed. According to the defense, right after Sigg's arrest and before his picture and name were released to the media, VN was shown six photos for the lineup.
VN testified "within 10 seconds, I recognized the person who attacked me in May."
However, the defense said Sigg was the only person wearing a striped shirt, had a different background and said there were striking differences in his photo and the other photos presented to VN. The defense argued the process of his identification by VN was "suggestive."
The prosecution argued the contrary.
The court decided on Friday that in no way was the lineup identification unduly suggestive, so the defense's motion was denied.
The next motion taken up by the court was the medical witnesses who inspected Jessica's body. Although 9NEWS will not go into detail as to what was put forth in the testimony, we will say the defense argued they need a hearing before the trial to assess the reliability of evidence that supports a sexual assault took place.
The judge granted a hearing on Aug. 7 to go over the validity of the sexual-assault charge against Sigg.
After the break, the prosecution said they wanted to admit new evidence, which included information found on a single computer in Sigg's mother's basement. They found words and search terms dating back to April 2011 that were graphic in nature. They also discovered photos and videos of child rape, torture and dismemberment on the computer. The prosecution believes those items are relevant to the charges against Sigg.
"[This evidence] reflects his thought process," the prosecution argued.
The prosecution cited a specific website that Sigg used to go look at graphic, gory photos. 9NEWS is choosing not to name the website in order to not give it undue publicity.
The defense wanted the evidence from his computer to be excluded. They said the presentation of the information would violate Sigg's right to a fair jury because the items are so inflammatory that a jury would be unable to presume him innocent.
"The prosecution tries to connect possession and act of possession to motive [while] it's pure opinion and pure speculation. It is inadmissible evidence," the defense said in court Friday.
The defense cited the Tim Masters case and reminded the judge of when drawings that were shown to the jury had influenced his wrongful conviction.
The prosecution countered that point, arguing the Sigg case has nothing to do with the Masters case. They said the connection between possession and him committing the crime are "common sense."
The judge denied the defense's motion to limit the evidence found on Sigg's computer.
The judge then took up the severance motion that was filed by the defense. In this particular motion, the defense argued that they want the Jessica Ridgeway case and the Ketner Lake case tried separately. Since the subjects are different in age, the attacks were on different days, etc., the defense team said they thought they should not be tried together. The main argument was that due to the graphic nature of the Jessica Ridgeway case, jurors would not be able to separate the cases in their minds.