Update: Austin Sigg sentenced to life in prison for brutal murder of Jessica Ridgeway, ten
Update: Austin Sigg has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of ten-year-old Westminster girl Jessica Ridgeway, and while he's technically eligible for parole after forty years, he's been ordered to serve another consecutive sentence of 86 years.
The announcement of Sigg's punishment follows more than a day's worth of grueling testimony in the case.
Continue to see our previous coverage.
Update, 5:58 a.m. November 19: Yesterday, we shared one reporter's updates from the courtroom where Austin Sigg will be sentenced for the horrific October 2012 murder of Jessica Ridgeway, a ten-year-old Westminster girl, a crime committed when he was seventeen; see our previous coverage below.
The information that emerged from the hearing was shocking in the extreme, yet Jessica's mother, Sarah, sounded a note of resilience and strength. See photos, videos and details below.
During her address, Sarah kept the focus on Jessica, who Sigg kidnapped as she headed to school.
A self-portrait of Jessica Ridgeway.
As reported by 7News, Sarah said, "Once we walk out of this courtroom, we'll not remember his name. We'll only remember Jessica and the legacy she created and the lasting project in which she inspired" -- a reference to a park named for Jessica.
Sarah Ridgeway speaks to the court.
As noted by 9News, many of the disturbing details about Sigg were shared by Anna Salter, a psychologist who reviewed police records about the case. She noted that he had not been abused as a child and seemed to have been treated well by his parents despite them going through a divorce -- yet somehow, he emerged to display tendencies of sadism and narcissism.
Psychologist Anna Salter, in a 7News image.
Possible factors floated by Sigg's defense? One of his attorneys said that Sigg's mother had inhaled paint fumes and fallen down stairs when she was pregnant with him. In addition, Sigg is said to have been born with a head deformity due to the use of a vacuum extractor when he was born, and he had such serious intestinal issues that, according to 7News, he underwent surgery three times -- at age two months, three years and six years.
Whatever the case, Sigg's treatment of Ridgeway's body was callous in the extreme, Salter allowed. After strangled the girl, he performed a kind of autopsy (a field in which he was reportedly interested), removing and identifying each of her organs. He also left a wooden cross that was identified as an important clue in the search for the killer inside her body.
A photo of the cross provided by the police last year.
The hearing will continue today, with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole expected.
Continue for our previous coverage of Austin Sigg's sentencing, including photos and tweets from the courtroom.
This morning, Sigg, who was seventeen when he committed the horrific crime, is being sentenced -- and a reporter tweeting from the courthouse notes expert testimony that he actually ate a snack while dismembering the girl. But do such facts deserve a wider airing? Some locals don't think so.
The reporter in question is TaRonda Thomas of 9News, who's been tweeting about the Sigg sentencing throughout the morning -- and has often included photos. Here's her first tweet....
...and these followups:
She's also kept folks updated on expert testimony, including this....
Expert testifying: Austin Sigg has a "deviant sexual arousal pattern." Being sentenced for sexual assault/murder of Jessica Ridgeway #9NEWS— TaRhonda Thomas (@TaRhondaThomas) November 18, 2013
...and, most shockingly, this:
Expert: Sigg "certainly had no empathy for Jessica Ridgeway." Says he ate a snack while dismembering her body. Sentenced today. #9NEWS— TaRhonda Thomas (@TaRhondaThomas) November 18, 2013
The content has disturbed a number of people following Thomas's tweets, and to her credit, she's been addressing their complaints, as in this exchange...
...and this one:
As Thomas acknowledges in another tweet, the testimony is "terrible...hard to hear." The question is how best to strike a balance when sharing such material -- and everyone will likely do so in a different manner.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Video: Austin Sigg pleads guilty in senseless murder of Jessica Ridgeway."
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