Criminal Justice

Was youth evil or brain damaged? Sentencing judge chooses the former

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A Colorado sentencing judge on Tuesday saw “evil” in a youth who was 17 when he killed and dismembered a 10-year-old girl.

Judge Stephen Munsinger of Jefferson County sentenced Austin Sigg to life in prison for the murder plus 86 years for other offenses, a sentence that will keep the defendant in prison for life, report the Associated Press, the Denver Post and the Summit Daily.

“Evil is apparently real,” Munsinger said. “It was present in our community on Oct. 5, 2012. On that day, its name was Austin Sigg.”

Sigg had pleaded guilty in October to all charges, including murder, kidnapping and sexual assault, and attempted kidnapping in a separate case. His mother had called police to report he had confessed to her, saying he was a monster and needed to be punished.

Defense lawyers said Sigg might have suffered brain damage from falls as a child, and his mother, while pregnant with him, had inhaled paint fumes and fallen down stairs. To show problems with his writing, the lawyers introduced his letter to Santa written while 7 years old. “Der Santa, Watever will do,” it read.

At age 12, Sigg received counseling for pornography, anxiety and a compulsive disorder.

A psychologist hired by prosecutors said Sigg was sadistic and felt no empathy for his victim, Jessica Ridgeway.

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