DA: No Death Penalty For Ridgeway Suspect Due To Age

Jessica Ridgeway's family, dressed in purple in honor of their slain daughter, for the first time laid eyes on the teen accused of abducting and murdering the 10-year-old.

Suspect Austin Sigg, 17, made his first court appearance Thursday morning at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Along with Jessica's family, his own family members sat in the courtroom as he stood before a judge.

Reporter Patrick Nelson tells 11 News that as Sigg was led into the courtroom, shackles around his wrists and ankles, one of his family members began to cry. The Ridgeway family looked straight ahead, looking at the suspect as little as possible.

Sigg looked down at his hands the entire time he was in court, only twice glancing behind him at his family and Jessica's. Nelson said he would occasionally whisper something to his court-appointed attorney.

The defense argued that a bond be set for Sigg, as he had no prior criminal history. The judge ruled that Sigg can't overcome the assumption of his alleged crimes, meaning Sigg will continue to be held at the Mount View Juvenile Detention Center without bond. He may eventually be moved to the county jail.

According to the Associated Press, District Attorney Scott Storey said the law prevents prosecutors from seeking the death penalty because Sigg is a juvenile, even though he is being prosecuted as an adult.

Sigg's charges were not read in court Thursday. His next court appearance is October 30, when it is expected that he will be formally charged.

Sigg was arrested Tuesday night after sister station KCNC says he confessed to his mother, who then called police. Sigg's mother told the Associated Press that her son turned himself in.

Jessica was abducted on October 5 while walking to school in Westminster, a Denver suburb. Her body was found in an open space just a few miles from her home five days later. The remains were "not intact" according to authorities.

Sigg is also accused of attacking a 22-year-old runner at Ketner Lake, just a half-mile away from Jessica's home. The victim said a man grabbed her from behind and put a rag reeking of chemicals over her mouth. She managed to get away and was able to provide police with a description of the assailant.

Sigg lived just a mile from Jessica's home, and attended the same elementary school, Witt, when he was in the fifth grade.

Reaction among those who knew Sigg was mixed; many former classmates and neighbors said they were stunned, while others described a boy with a troubled background and an infatuation with death.

"I used to play with him when I was little,” Brooke Olds said Wednesday. “He was always like really weird. We didn't ever like to play with him."

"He was always one of the kids in class who was really smart but was always by himself,” Lucas Goodrich said. “He talked to himself, and he just acted really awkward around people."

Sigg dropped out of Standley Lake High School in Westminster, but later obtained a GED. At the time of his arrest, he was studying forensics at Arapahoe Community College, a subject that first piqued his interest in high school. He reportedly told other students that he wanted to become a mortician.

Police called the arrest "a significant step towards justice for Jessica."