Hearing held for Colorado teen in slaying of Jessica Ridgeway - WNEM TV 5

Colorado teen accused of killing Jessica Ridgeway enters not guilty plea

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Austin Sigg Austin Sigg

A Colorado teen accused of killing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway made a surprising plea in court Friday.

Austin Sigg, 18, appeared in a Colorado courtroom Friday and entered a plea of not guilty to murder and kidnapping.

Sigg originally was to enter a plea on March 12. Defense attorney Katherine Spengler asked for more time to study the evidence and analyze his mental state at the time of the crime. Judge Stephen Munsinger granted the request.

Sigg is charged with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery. Prosecutors added three counts of sexual exploitation of a child because child pornography was allegedly found during the investigation. Sigg denied to investigators that he sexually assaulted Jessica.

Sigg also faces an attempted kidnapping charge for the May attack on a 22-year-old jogger at a lake in Jessica's neighborhood.

Sigg cannot face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the slaying. He faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years if convicted. If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could be confined indefinitely to a mental hospital.

Many remember the heart-wrenching story that led parents everywhere to take extraordinary precautions to keep their own children safe.

Jessica, a fifth-grader, disappeared after she left her house to meet a friend two blocks away on their way to school. Hundreds of police and residents searched for her, and parents escorted their children to and from school. The FBI asked residents to report suspicious behavior by friends, neighbors and even family members. Her torso was found in a secluded park Oct. 10.

A resident contacted authorities Oct. 19 to report Sigg because he reportedly had a fascination with death, Westminster police Detective Luis Lopez testified at a preliminary hearing. Two FBI agents took a DNA sample from Sigg. His mother called 911 on Oct. 23, saying he wanted to confess. Lopez said Sigg's DNA was found on Jessica's clothing.

Investigators said Sigg told them that some of Jessica's remains were hidden in a crawl space in his mother's home, where he lived.

Detectives said he described how he abducted Jessica as she walked past his car, bound her arms and her legs, drove around for a little bit then took her to his house. There, he told investigators, he tried to strangle her and then used his hands to kill her. He also told investigators that he dismembered Jessica in a bathtub.

Lopez testified that Sigg attended a community college and took classes in mortuary sciences.

The incident really hit home in the Kansas City metro after people learned Jessica's father lives in Independence, MO.

Sigg's next hearing will be May 3 and jury selection is set to begin Sept. 20.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. Thomas Peipert with The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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