Society

Teen Who Raped And Killed His Teacher To Serve 40 Years

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Colleen Ritzer and Phillip ChismColleen Ritzer and Phillip Chism

A Massachusetts teenager who robbed, raped and murdered his high school teacher has been sentenced to at least 40 years in prison.

In 2013, Philip D. Chism, now 17, killed Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, with a box cutter after raping her in a school bathroom at the end of the school day, CNN reports.

Following the murder, the then 14-year-old moved her body with a wheeled trash can and dumped it in the woods near the school. She was found naked from the waist down and had 16 stab wounds, The Boston Globe reports.

A note was found nearby that read, “I hate you all.”

In December 2015, Chism was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery.

He was sentenced to life in prison. Chism is eligible for parole in 25 years because recent court rulings have put limits on sentences for juvenile murder defendants, legislation that angers Ritzer’s family.

"He is pure evil, and evil can never be rehabilitated," said Colleen's mother, who is angry that Chism will be eligible for parole, according to CNN. "We will never get a second chance and neither should he."

But Chism will be required to serve at least 40 years because he was given concurrent 40-year sentences on charges of rape and robbery.

By the time Chism is eligible for parole, he will be 54 years old. He has been given credit for time served, The Boston Globe reports.

Superior Court judge David Lowy said he imposed the most severe sentence for the murder allowed under state law.

“In imposing a sentence for the rape at a date in excess of the parole eligibility date for the murder, the court is not suggesting that the rape, as heinous as it was, was more egregious than the murder,” Lowy said. “Rather, this court is constitutionally obligated to set a parole date of no more than 25 years for her murder.”

Chism’s mother issued a statement after the sentencing hearing.

“Words can’t express the amount of pain and sorrow these past two and a half years have been,’’ Diana Chism wrote. “However, there is no one who has suffered more than the Ritzer family. My utmost esteem, prayers, and humble respect is with them today as they continue their journey to heal.’’

In a separate case in Suffolk County, Chism is accused of attacking a state Department of Youth Services worker in a similar fashion to that of Ritzer in June 2014. He is scheduled to appear in court in March.

Sources: CNN, The Boston Globe / Photo credit: Jackie Bruno/Twitter, Danvers Police Department/Twitter

Do you think Chism should be eligible for parole?
Yes - 0%
Yes - 0%