GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado teen charged with kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old girl pleaded guilty Tuesday to all 15 charges against him, against the advice of his attorneys.
Austin Sigg, 18, could be sent to prison for the rest of his life for the slaying of Jessica Ridgeway in Westminster nearly a year ago. Jessica was abducted while walking to school, and her disappearance panicked thousands of residents in Denver's western suburbs.
Sigg also pleaded guilty Tuesday to a May 2012 attack on a 22-year-old jogger at a lake in Jessica's neighborhood.
Prosecutors said Sigg entered the pleas because of overwhelming evidence against him. His trial would have started Thursday.
"The writing was on the wall," Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Weir said after the hearing.
Sigg faces a minimum sentence of 40 years in prison with the possibility of parole afterward when he is sentenced after a hearing starting Nov. 18. Prosecutors asked Judge Stephen Munsinger to impose consecutive sentences on some of the other charges so Sigg spends the rest of his life behind bars. Sigg's lawyers argue the law doesn't allow that.
Sigg cannot face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the slaying.
"In this case, there has been justice for Jessica," Weir said.
Defense attorney Mitch Ahnstedt told the court that Sigg was entering the pleas against his lawyers' counsel but he didn't explain why.
Sigg's father, Rob Sigg, said in a statement that he was thankful that the Ridgeway family would be spared the ordeal of a trial.
"We ask the community to continue to support the Ridgeway family and keep them in your thoughts and prayers," he said.
The families of both Jessica and Sigg were in the courtroom Tuesday. Sigg spoke only to answer the judge's questions about whether he understood what he was agreeing to.
After Sigg pleaded guilty, prosecutor Hal Sargent started to describe how Sigg grabbed Jessica, pulled her into his car and tied up her hands and feet, leading Jessica's mother, Sarah Ridgeway, to leave the courtroom. Munsinger stopped him after defense attorneys objected, saying they weren't disputing the evidence.
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