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Teenage Suspect in Ridgeway Murder Charged with 17 Counts

Courtesy Westminster Police Department(DENVER) -- The 17-year-old who allegedly confessed to the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was formally charged as an adult Tuesday in Jefferson County, Colo., court.

Austin Sigg was charged with 17 counts. Eleven of the charges were related to Ridgeway's disappearance and subsequent death, including first-degree murder with deliberation, felony murder, second-degree kidnapping, sexual assault on a child, and robbery.

The other six charges pertained to Sigg's attempted abduction of a 22-year-old jogger in May 2012, and included attempted first-degree murder, sexual assault with criminal intent and second-degree kidnapping.

If he's convicted, Sigg faces a minimum of 40 years in jail before he can be considered for parole.

Sigg entered the courtroom Tuesday morning wearing a green jumpsuit; his wrists and ankles were shackled together. While he was alert during the hearing, he did not speak or appear to ask questions of his attorneys.

ABC affiliate KMGH reports that eight members of Ridgeway's family were in the courtroom for the arraignment, all dressed in the 10-year-old's favorite color, purple. Sarah Ridgeway, Jessica's mother, wore a white T-shirt decorated with eagle wings carrying a purple ribbon. The shirt bore the phrase "Justice for Jessica."

When the sexual assault charge was read, Sarah Ridgeway put her head down.

On the opposite side of the courtroom, Sigg's parents sat a few rows behind their son, keeping his younger brother between them. At one point Mindy Sigg rubbed her ex-husband's back. Rob Sigg appeared to mutter several prayers to himself before and throughout hearing.

At the end of the hearing, Sigg's mother, father and younger brother all sat with their heads down.

Sigg's attorneys have filed a request to get the case back into the juvenile system. If the reverse transfer is approved, Sigg would not be tried as an adult.

The next hearing in the trial is scheduled for Nov. 27.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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