Judge allows defensive adolescent brain expert

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The judge in the Austin Sigg case granted a motion to allow an expert in childhood brain development to testify in court, during Wednesday’s motions hearing.

Sigg is the teenager accused of murdering 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway of Westminster.

The motion was filed by the defense team and will only allow an expert to discuss information relating to adolescent brain development during the trial, with no discussion related to Sigg’s personal brain development as a child. During the hearing, Jefferson County District Court Judge Stephen Munsinger told the defense team although he has granted the motion, the report made by the expert on childhood brain development must relate to the case.

“The expert may only give his or her opinion and is there to educate the jury about brain development,” Munsinger said. “The report needs to relate to some piece of evidence and it must relate to the case.”

Munsinger told the defense team they must disclose the name of the expert by July 17 and the expert’s report by Aug. 5.

Leading up to the trial, which is set for early September, there will be many other motions hearings with the next two scheduled for July 18 and 19.

Sigg is accused of kidnapping and killing Ridgeway in early October 2012.

He is also accused of attempting to abduct a woman jogging around Ketner Lake in May 2012.

If convicted, Sigg faces life in prison with a possibility of parole after 40 years. He faces 17 charges, including murder and sexual assault.