14-Year-Old Accused of Murdering Young Teacher, Using Tree Branch to Rape Her
Philip Chism is accused of sexually assaulted his high school math teacher using a 3-foot tree branch before he slit her throat with a boxcutter, left a hate note by her body, put her body in a recycling bin and deposited the body behind the school in the woods. The African-American Chism is a 14-year-old student accused of raping, robbing and murdering Colleen Ritzer, 24, his high school math teacher at Danvers High School in Massachusetts.
Court papers state that the note read, “I hate you all” and was left next to the corpse which Chism left in a “sexually staged” position according to court court papers.
Apparently Chism’s parents were going through a divorce, and when Ritzer asked Chism and another student to stay after class, she spoke to him of Tennessee, Chism’s former home. Chism followed Ritzer into a bathroom, then raped her, slit her throat. When her body was found naked from the waist down the three-foot branch was still inside her. Her bra had been yanked down and her blouse yanked up. After the murder Chism went and saw the Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine in a theater.
An unidentified woman entered the bathroom during the rape but only saw Chism’s bare rear end and told police later she assumed he was changing clothes. CCTV videotaped Chism leaving after the rape and murder, and then returning with the recycling bin.
On Thursday, Chism was indicted on charges of murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery. District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett asserted that Chism had stolen Ritzer’s iPhone and credit cards; her underwear and a bloody knife was found in his bag. One of Ritzer’s students said she had asked Chism to stay after school so she could help him with a test she would be giving.
Assistant Essex District Attorney David O’Sullivan said, “There is absolutely no evidence of any misconduct or wrongdoing by Ms Ritzer of any sort.”
Susan Oker, one of Chism's public defenders, claimed some of the statements police obtained from other 14-year-olds were “inflammatory” and unnecessarily harmful.
There is no evidence as yet of Chism suffering from mental illness, or doing drugs; he has confessed to the entire crime while not revealing why he committed it.
A police source asserted: "We have no idea why he did this. We have questioned him and got nothing. We have spoken to authorities in Tennessee and other than a couple of minor scrapes at school he was a well-behaved student. As far as I am aware he was not on medication. The only thing anyone can come up with is that he had feelings for her that were not returned, but that is just a theory. It really is a complete mystery. and it is unclear whether we will ever really know why he did it."
A student who sat one desk away from Chism said, 'We were supposed to have a test last Friday and Philip wasn't participating in class on Tuesday. He was drawing in his notebook and not working. He always draws, but I didn't ever see what he was sketching because he was quite private about it. Miss Ritzer spotted what he was doing and asked if he could stay behind so she could help him. It wasn't a punishment and it was something she did a lot with other students. If you couldn't stay it was no problem.”