Teenager Found Guilty Of Raping And Murdering High School Teacher

| by Jordan Smith
Colleen Ritzer on the school's surveillance video shortly before she diedColleen Ritzer on the school's surveillance video shortly before she died

On Dec. 15, a 16-year-old was convicted of raping and murdering his high school teacher in October 2013.

Philip Chism, who was 14 when he committed the crime but is being tried as an adult, was found guilty of killing Colleen Ritzer, 24, the New York Daily News reported. Ritzer was Chism's math teacher at Danvers High School in Danvers, Massachusetts.

The jury deliberated for a day before finding him guilty of first degree murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery.

Chism was caught on surveillance camera putting on gloves and carrying a box cutter before following Ritzer into the school bathroom on Oct. 22, 2013.

He then allegedly raped Ritzer in the bathroom, before stabbing her and depositing her body behind the school in the woods.

Police later found Chism carrying the bloody box cutter, a pair of the woman’s underwear, her ID and credit cards. He admitted to cops that the blood belonged to "the girl." Ritzer's body was later found in the woods behind the school, according to police.

In the closing arguments on Dec. 14, prosecutor Kate MacDougall said that Chism “knew right from wrong and could choose right from wrong.”

She added that Ritzer had been “stripped, battered, brutalized and violated” by Chism, according to WBZ.

This was a rejection of the version of events put forward by Chism’s defense attorney, who said that the 14-year-old was suffering from serious mental health problems at the time.

“When Philip Chism followed miss Ritzer into that bathroom, he was not himself, he was totally and absolutely responding to the terrible command of the hallucinations in his head,” Denise Regan, Chism’s attorney, said in court.

Regan admitted that Chism killed Ritzer, but she maintained he could not be held criminally responsible.

MacDougall countered Regan's argument with the fact that Chism brought extra bags and gloves to school on the day of the murder. This proves that Chism was sane when he planned the murder, according to MacDougall. She also said that Chism was overstating the seriousness of his mental illness.

“Doing something so awful does not make you crazy,” she added.

The jury did not find Chism guilty of the charge of raping Ritzer with a stick in the woods.

Chism will be sentenced later.

Sources: New York Daily News, WBZ / Photo credit: WBZ, Danvers Police Department via New York Daily News