In a ruling released Thursday, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed an order to close a hearing in the Jessica Ridgeway murder case to the public.
The preliminary hearing for Austin Reed Sigg, 17, is scheduled for Friday morning in Jefferson County and will now be open to the public. The hearing will present evidence against the teen who allegedly confessed to the murder and abduction of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in October.
In a move The Denver Post called "exceedingly rare," Judge Stephen Munsinger closed Sigg's preliminary hearing from the public in an effort to ensure a fair trial and protect the privacy of the victims' families.
Media organizations however appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, which ruled that Munsinger did not make "specific findings demonstrating a substantial probability that the defendant's right to a fair trial will be prejudiced by publicity that closure would prevent and that reasonable alternatives to closure cannot adequately protect the defendant's fair trial rights."
Sigg is accused of second degree kidnapping, sexual assault on a child, four counts of first degree murder, robbery and the attempted abduction and sexual assault of a female jogger at Ketner Lake.