Judge defends decision to close key hearing in Jessica Ridgeway murder trial to the public, media

DENVER - A Jefferson County judge is defending the unusual move of closing a key hearing for a teen accused of killing a 10-year-old Westminster girl and attacking a jogger.

Judge Stephen Munsinger has closed the Feb. 22 preliminary hearing for 18-year-old Austin Sigg, saying he wants to ensure a fair trial and to protect the privacy of victims and their families.

Munsinger has asked the Colorado Supreme Court to clarify standards for such a closing. Sigg is accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in October and of attacking a jogger.

Sigg's attorneys say they'll weigh in by Feb. 19.

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