GOLDEN, Colo. - Jury selection began Friday in the case of Austin Sigg, the accused killer of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
People in the pool of jurors started to fill out a questionnaire that will be reviewed by defense attorneys and prosecutors over the weekend. On Tuesday, attorneys in Jefferson County court will begin questioning potential jurors and selecting who will serve on the jury in the murder trial.
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.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin Oct. 3 and the trial is expected to last two and a half weeks.
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.
For complete coverage of the Jessica Ridgeway case, visit http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/jessica-ridgeway