WESTMINSTER, Colo. - A prosecutor said in court Thursday that authorities have a DNA match and confession from the 17-year-old suspect accused of kidnapping and killing Jessica Ridgeway.
Sources told the CALL7 Investigators that police would have eventually been led to Austin Sigg, because he was one of 500 people who voluntarily submitted their DNA to investigators. So, while the phone call tip to police led to Sigg's arrest more quickly, once all of the DNA samples from neighborhood residents had been processed, investigators would have connected the cases to Sigg.
The CALL7 Investigators also confirmed that police recovered body parts at Sigg's home during their search on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey said his office will charge Sigg as an adult by Tuesday.
Austin Sigg made his first court appearance Thursday morning in Jefferson County court. The teen wore a bright, light green jumpsuit. His hands and feet were both shackled.
Public defenders argued that Sigg should be released on bond, saying he has no criminal history and is a low flight risk.
But Chief Deputy Deputy District Hal Sargent said Sigg poses a threat to the community and cited "overwhelming evidence" against the teen, including a DNA match and his confession.
The judge ordered Sigg held without bond.
Sigg's mother was in court. Jessica Ridgeway's mom, aunt and other family members took up an entire row in the courtroom. All were dressed in purple, Jessica's favorite color. Jessica's mother was wearing a purple ribbon in her hair.
7NEWS reporter Russell Haythorn said Sigg appeared calm through the proceedings and almost looked like more of an observer. At one point, Sigg interrupted the judge because he said he didn't understand a portion of the advisement hearing.
The judge paused the proceedings while Sigg's court-appointed attorneys gave him an explanation.
The judge asked if Sigg had a legal guardian present, and attorneys said Sigg's mother was there.
The charges were not read in court on Thursday, but the judge did tell Sigg he was being held in two separate cases. Another hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday.
Outside court, Storey said he planned to charge the 17-year-old as an adult by the Tuesday hearing.
"Based upon my experience and what I think the charges will be, I think that's the appropriate thing to do, is to charge as an adult," said Storey.
Yet, even if Sigg is tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, because he's a juvenile he cannot face the death penalty or be given a sentence of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole, Storey said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that sentencing a juvenile murder offender to mandatory life in prison without parole is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution's Eighth Amendment.
However, Justice Elena Kagan's majority decision did not completely eliminate life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of murder. She ruled out automatic life sentences, writing that "a judge or jury must have the opportunity to consider mitigating circumstances before imposing the harshest possible penalty for juveniles."
The high court banned the juvenile death penalty in 2005.
Storey said the June Supreme Court ruling made the current law on life-without-parole sentences for juveniles "murky."
So, even if Sigg is convicted of murder, Storey said, "because he's a juvenile we would have to have a sentencing hearing to see if he would actually even get life."
In court, the defense asked the judge to put all documents in the case under seal and issue a gag order in the case. The judge agreed to seal the documents, but did not issue a gag order.
Sigg revoked the waiver of his Miranda rights that he signed when he was arrested Tuesday night. That means he cannot be questioned without his attorneys present.
Sigg is being held on suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree kidnapping and two counts of criminal attempt: attempted murder and attempted kidnapping.
The first three charges (murder and kidnapping) are related to the Jessica Ridgeway case, according to Westminster Police spokesman Trevor Materasso.
Materasso said the last two charges, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping, are related to a May incident where a 22-year-old woman was attacked while she was jogging around Ketner Lake in Westminster.
Official charges from the district attorney's office will be filed by Tuesday.
Sigg Turns Himself In
Westminster police said they received a call Tuesday evening that led them to Sigg's home near the Ketner Lake Open Space, which is about 1 mile from Jessica's home on the other side of Ketner Lake.
He was arrested at his home around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday and cooperated with police and waived his rights, according to the custody report.