GOLDEN, Colo. – A Colorado teenager who killed and dismembered a 10-year-old girl in the Denver area last year was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars after an emotional hearing that ended Tuesday.
District Judge Stephen Munsinger sentenced Austin Sigg, 18, to life in prison for the October 2012 slaying of Jessica Ridgeway in Westminster. Munsinger also added on sentences for other crimes that Sigg pleaded guilty to.
Sigg would have been eligible for parole on the murder charge in 40 years because he was a juvenile at the time of the killing. But the extra sentences eliminated that possibility.
"This case cries out for a life sentence," Munsinger said.
Sigg showed no emotion as the judge handed down the terms.
He earlier pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing Jessica. The fifth-grader was abducted while walking to school, and human remains identified as hers were found five days later in a park. More of her remains were hidden in a crawl space in Sigg's mother's home, where he lived.
Sigg, who reportedly had a fascination with death and was interested in mortuary science, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing the girl. He also acknowledged attacking a 22-year-old jogger at a Westminster park in May 2012. In that case, investigators said he used homemade chloroform to try to subdue the woman, who escaped.
Sigg did not face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of Jessica's slaying.
The girl, who was a member of a peewee cheerleading squad and was looking forward to being a zombie lifeguard for Halloween, was headed to school on Oct. 5, 2012, but never arrived.
Hundreds of people searched for her, and authorities urged residents to watch for any suspicious changes in their neighbors' behavior. Police guarded crosswalks and photographed cars in the area. Parents escorted their children to and from area schools. Mailboxes and trees were encircled by ribbons in purple, Jessica's favorite color.
A resident contacted authorities on Oct. 19, 2012, to alert them to Sigg because he reportedly had a fascination with death. FBI agents took a DNA sample from the teen, and days later his mother, Mindy Sigg, called 911, saying her son wanted to confess.
Investigators said Sigg told them he used his hands to kill the girl before he dismembered her body in a bathtub.
Sigg dropped out of high school after the 11th grade and later earned a graduate equivalency diploma. Former classmates say he was intelligent, interested in mortuary science and was bullied for having a high voice.
When asked about his criminal record on the 911 call, Sigg told the dispatcher: "The only other thing that I have done was the Ketner Lake incident where the woman got attacked. That was me."