Jessica Ridgeway Murder

Defense: DNA evidence possibly contaminated

Austin Sigg Mug shot / Jefferson County JailGOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — Defense lawyers on Friday questioned how DNA evidence was handled in the case of a teenager charged in the slaying and dismemberment of a 10-year-old girl in suburban Denver.

Austin Sigg, 18, has pleaded not guilty in the October death of Jessica Ridgeway of Westminster. He also has denied charges stemming from an attack on a 22-year-old jogger at a lake in the girl’s neighborhood five months earlier.

Kathleen Fetherston, director of the state crime laboratory in Denver, testified in court Friday about possible DNA contamination in both cases.

She said DNA from the jogger attack was tested in a batch with DNA from other cases, and irregularities were found in the tray holding the samples. She added that no contamination was found in the case involving the jogger, and that Sigg’s DNA was tied to that sample.

DNA evidence in the Ridgeway case was tested alone in one tray, and two memos were generated about possible contamination in those samples. Fetherston did not provide any details about how that contamination might have occurred.

Defense attorney Mitch Ahnstedt said such revelations call into question the reliability of the lab work performed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which tested the samples in both cases.

After the hearing, CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina said if irregularities are found in a DNA sample, scientists “identify where it happened, backtrack and retest.”

“There are all sorts of checks and balances. … We feel it’s critical to be proactive as well as transparent,” said Medina, who declined to comment specifically about the Ridgeway case.

The judge didn’t rule on the quality of the DNA evidence but did order CBI to try to recover internal correspondence about the testing and give it to the defense.

Sigg is charged with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery, as well as three counts of sexual exploitation of a child after authorities said they found child pornography during the investigation. Investigators say Sigg has denied sexually assaulting Jessica but confessed to killing her.

The fifth-grader disappeared while walking to school Oct. 5. Hundreds of police and residents searched for her, and parents escorted their children to and from school. Her torso was found in a secluded park Oct. 10.

Sigg, who is scheduled to go to trial in September, can’t face the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the slaying.


Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Share this post!
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email Pinterest


tab says:

Well said Juana. I agree 100% with you. Know matter what happens to him here, he will some day, have to meet his Maker.
Rip little Angel. says:

Seriously, at 17 years old, we know what we are doing. He knew it was wrong but chose to do it. Yes by the law he was considered a child still, but come on. Really he will do it again if he gets off. And this time he may become more clever when he does. On another note yes, some people have things happen to them mentally, and never recover from them events. I pray for that little girls family. May the Lord be with you. And may justice be served.

Ali Rose says:

It’s stories like this that makes me cringe every time I hear someone say “we have the greatest legal system in the world” Like Ash suggested, we have an outdated system. We have smarter criminals who know how to get around things. We have rich criminals who know how to buy their way out of jail. This, so called justice should be equal to all. How is it 1 person can get tax payers to pay their million dollar defense and others have to settle for an over worked green public defender. Why do victims families have hear “oh sorry, can’t use this.VERY obvious piece of evidence against the man or woman who killed your loved one. It’s too prejudicial” Give me a freakin break!

Ash says:

Cant believe such a sick individual can do time, probably fantasising about what he did, just to get out afterwards and do something horrific again. We see it all the time. Mentally sick criminals should be taken out back and disposed of. What a waste of hard working americans money keeping these people alive. They are worthless and unfixable. Ridiculous. Times have changed. Peoples rights and consequences after commiting major crimes now a days need to be reevaluated. Theres not enough money and resources in the world to keep scum in a cage. Rip little angel!

Juana Pistolas says:

This is So UNFAIR!!!! He cant Get the death penalty because he was “17”!!!!! Yet she was a precious “10” year old and he used her as a Science Project!!!!! and shes DEAD!!!! Kill HIM!!! Torture him like he did to her!!! NO JUSTICE HERE ON EARTH But HE WILL GET IT. Imagine this scared little Girl went thru. :( RIP Jessica


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *