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Ridgeway suspect to be transferred to adult facility

6:05 PM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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By Blair Shiff / KUSA, WBIR partner 

On Tuesday, the prosecution and the defense debated whether Austin Sigg will be moved from his current juvenile facility to an adult facility. Currently, Sigg is being held in Mount View Youth Detention Facility. Prosecutors and the defense in the murder case of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway gathered in court Tuesday morning to argue this. In the end, the court decided to transfer Sigg to Jefferson County Detention Facility in Golden.

The Attorney General's Office filed the petition with the court on behalf of the Department of Youth Corrections asking for Sigg's transfer to an adult facility. Judge Stephen Munsinger said Sigg is to be transferred "as soon as practical."

The 17-year-old suspect Sigg appeared in court Tuesday. He turns 18 on Jan. 17.

Both families were in court. When Sigg walked into the courtroom, he smiled at his mother. Jessica's family was also present; they were all wearing purple. Neither family showed much emotion.

The courtroom was extremely secure as at least 20 deputies circled the room. 

The Jefferson County District Attorney filed for Sigg to be charged as an adult from the very beginning. However, Sigg's attorneys say they planned on fighting that filing in open court on Oct. 30. After they said that, the defense had seven days to file that motion. However, sources tell 9NEWS the defense did not file the motion. 

During the hearing on Tuesday, Mount View facility put the director of youth corrections on the stand. That director testified they wanted Sigg moved to an adult facility due to his "high intelligence" and "high maturity." The director said Sigg has been in isolation since his arrest even though there has never been a court order to do that. The director claimed threats had been made against Sigg's life, so the facility decided to put him in isolation for his own protection. He is extremely limited outside of his isolation.

Two other witnesses took the stand and testified Sigg is well behaved and has not caused any problems with the staff. One witness said the only complaint they have heard from Sigg is him asking the staff why they check on him so late at night.

One witness also said some youth they house at Mount View may have "I've-got-nothing-to-lose" attitudes and may act on the indirect threats made towards Sigg.

The witnesses argued that the special-housing unit in Jefferson County would be a better fit for Sigg. Sigg would have access to continuing education, be able to arrange college courses, and be able to play video games, watch TV or access a library in the day room. He also would be able to be released into either an indoor or an outdoor yard.

The defense team for Sigg opposed his transfer - saying it is inappropriate to house a juvenile in an adult facility. They also said Mount View is the right facility for Sigg since they have trained counselors on staff. Since Sigg is underage, he was appointed a guardian ad litern. His guardian testified there is a "significant risk" by moving Sigg to Jefferson County.

Also during Tuesday's hearing, the court set a date for his preliminary hearing for Feb. 22 at 8:30 a.m. A preliminary hearing is where a judge gets to hear the evidence in the case and where witnesses can take the stand. In this case for the preliminary hearing, the court could hear in full detail what investigators found in Sigg's home and what Sigg may have told police during initial questioning. The preliminary hearing could be waived - as has happened in recent, high-profile cases like troubled ex-Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan.

If Sigg is tried as a juvenile and found guilty on all charges, he would receive seven years per charge that would run consecutively.

If he is charged as an adult and found guilty on all charges, he would receive life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Sigg is being charged with the murder of Ridgeway. Ridgeway went missing on Oct. 5 and was found almost a week later in an open field in Arvada - murdered and dismembered.

Sigg is also facing charges of attempted kidnapping of a woman who was jogging at Ketner Lake over Memorial Day weekend.

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