The family of a slain young teacher is distraught that a 14-year-old high school student who allegedly raped and slit her throat will be eligible for parole.
A controversial ruling issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Christmas Eve provides that teen murderers serving life sentences are eligible for parole.
On Friday, the family of Colleen Ritzer released a statement: “The Ritzer family feels a deep sense of betrayal and anguish with the recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that provides more rights to those youths convicted of horrible and heinous crimes than victims and their families.”
The family added that their “daughter and sister” is gone and that because of the grisly acts of alleged murderer Philip Chism they would never receive “parole” from their life sentence of living without Colleen. “This decision should not be applauded, rather overturned as an act of justice and humanity to victims of violent crimes and their families.”
Chism is being charged with raping the teacher with a tree branch, slitting her throat in a school bathroom, and then discarding her body in the nearby woods. The youth is pleading not guilty to all charges, and psychologists concluded that Chism is mentally competent to stand trial. Lawyers for Chism may later bring up mental health issues if they feel it is relevant to the legal proceedings.
According to court papers, Chism left a note next to Colleen’s corpse, with the words, “I hate you all.” Allegedly, the 14-year-old had posed the body in a sexually explicit manner, revealing her breasts, and placed the tree branch inside her body.
Chism was seen on the school camera emerging from a school bathroom after allegedly killing Ritzer, then returning with a recycling bin. He allegedly stuffed the body in that bin and transported it to the woods where Colleen was found.