Crime

Trial To Begin For Teen Accused Of Raping, Killing His Teacher

| by Lauren Briggs
Left: Philip Chism, Right: Colleen RitzerLeft: Philip Chism, Right: Colleen Ritzer

A Massachusetts teenager who allegedly raped and murdered his teacher after she asked him to stay after school reportedly had a chilling message for investigators. Now, two years after the murder, he is headed to trial.

In October 2013, police found the body of 24-year-old algebra teacher, Colleen Ritzer, in the woods near the school, WCVB reports. She had been raped twice, once with a stick, and her throat was slit with a box cutter. A note near her body read, "I hate you all."

Philip Chism, a quiet 9th grader and star soccer player who was 14 at the time and had recently moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee, was arrested in connection with his teacher's murder.

On Oct. 22, 2013, the young, popular teacher allegedly noticed Chism drawing in a notebook instead of taking notes, a student in his class said.

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Another student, who remains anonymous, saw the two talking in her classroom after school and said that Chism became "visibly" upset when Ritzer mentioned Tennessee. The teacher quickly changed the subject, but the student said Chism began talking to himself.

Prosecutors say that they have security footage that was taken shortly after this conversation. In the video, they say, Chism follows Ritzer into a school bathroom, wearing gloves and a hood. He then walks outside alone 12 minutes later. He pulls a recycling bin that was found near the body through the school and leaves with it.

Ritzer was sexually assaulted twice, once with a stick, authorities say.

Hours later, a police officer found Chism walking along the road and questioned him.

The police officer then found a bloody box cutter in Chism's backpack.

When asked whose blood was on the tool, he said, "It's the girl's," according to the officer's testimony at a pretrial hearing.

Chism also had Ritzer's identification, credit cards, and a pair of women's underwear in his backpack.

The teen will be tried as an adult, and his defense is expected to argue that he has mental health issues. They have retained a well-known forensic psychiatrist to testify at the trial. 

Jury selection for the trial is set to begin on Oct. 7.

Chism confessed to police, but a judge ruled his statement to be inadmissible, according to IJ Review.

He allegedly told police that his teacher provoked him with an unknown "trigger" word.

"After she insulted me, that's when I became the teacher," Chism allegedly said.

Sources: WCVB, IJ Review
Photo Credit: Danvers Police Dept.