Justice for Jessica: Hearing scheduled for 'a possible plea' in murder case against Austin Sigg

DENVER - A hearing is now scheduled "regarding a possible plea" on the eve of the trial of Austin Sigg, the teenager accused of killing Jessica Ridgeway.

The hearing, announced Monday afternoon by court spokesman Rob McCallum, is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday. Chief Judge Stephen M. Munsinger will preside in the Jefferson County Courthouse.

McCallum later confirmed this means there is a possible plea deal in the works.

Opening statements in the trial of Austin Sigg are scheduled to begin Thursday morning.

During a videotaped interview after his arrest, Sigg allegedly confessed to kidnapping the Westminster girl as she walked to school on Oct. 5, then killing her. The girl's disappearance triggered a massive search that ended with the discovery of her dismembered remains five days later in an open space field in Arvada.

The 18-year-old Sigg is charged with 18 counts in Ridgeway's death. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Prosecutors have suggested that Sigg's attorneys are laying the groundwork for a "mental state defense."

Defense lawyers have asked for a change of venue for Sigg's trial, arguing it is impossible for Sigg to get a fair trial in Jefferson County due to extensive media coverage. The defense will have to attempt to seat a jury before the judge will rule on the change-of-venue motion.

If convicted, Sigg faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Sigg, who is now 18, cannot face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the killing.

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