Jessica Ridgeway: Teen Guilty in Child’s Death, No Death PenaltyBy: Erika Watts - October 2, 2013
In October 2012 in Colorado, the parents of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway were delivered the devastating news that their daughter had been kidnapped on the way to school. Just a few days later, parts of her body were found in a field.
Then 17-year-old Austin Sigg confessed to murdering Jessica and has now pleaded guilty to kidnapping, murdering, sexually assaulting and dismembering the young girl. Since Sigg was 17 when he committed the crimes, he isn’t eligible for the death penalty.
Sigg first confessed murdering and dismembering Jessica to his mother, who called 911 and made the report. “I made the phone call, and he turned himself in. That’s all I have to say,” Mindy Sigg said. During the 911 call, Sigg could be heard saying, “I murdered Jessica Ridgeway, I have proof that I did. I’m giving myself up completely, there will be no resistance whatsoever.”
In addition to the brutal murder of Jessica Ridgeway, Sigg also confessed to another violent crime that occurred just months before the young girl’s death. Sigg told a 911 dispatcher that he was responsible for the attack on a jogger in a park near his home in May 2012. “The only other thing that I have done was the Ketner Lake incident where the woman got attacked. That was me,” Sigg said.
The Colorado teen told detectives the same thing he told his mom and was charged with kidnapping, murder, sexual assault of a child and other charges. Despite the confessions, Sigg initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his attorney worked to have his confessions excluded from the trial, saying he was too young to understand his decision.
Against the advice of his attorney, Sigg changed his plea to guilty on all charges on Tuesday. “The writing was on the wall,” Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Weir said. “In this case, there has been justice for Jessica.”
Despite the horrific nature of the crimes, Sigg may be eligible for parole in 40 years, something prosecutors are trying to make sure doesn’t happen. Sigg will be sentenced on November 8, and prosecutors have asked Judge Stephen Munsinger to make him serve consecutive sentences, which would ensure he spends the rest of his life behind bars.