Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Massachusetts Teen Convicted in Rape, Killing of High School Math Teacher

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Massachusetts Teen Convicted in Rape, Killing of High School Math Teacher

Article excerpt

SALEM, Mass. * A Massachusetts teenager was convicted Tuesday of raping and killing his high school math teacher when he was 14.

Philip Chism followed his ninth-grade algebra teacher, Colleen Ritzer, into a school restroom, strangled her, stabbed her at least 16 times and raped her.

Chism was convicted of raping Ritzer inside the restroom but was acquitted of a second rape, committed in woods near the school where Chism put her body. He was convicted of armed robbery for stealing Ritzer's credit cards and her underwear.

Chism stared straight ahead and did not have any visible reaction as the verdicts were read in Salem Superior Court.

During his trial, his attorney admitted Chism killed Ritzer, but said he was suffering from severe mental illness and was not criminally responsible for his actions. A psychiatrist who testified for the defense said Chism was hearing voices and in the throes of a psychotic episode when he killed Ritzer.

Ritzer, 24, was a popular teacher at Danvers High School, about 25 miles north of Boston, doing her dream job, teaching math, Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall told jurors in her opening statement.

On Oct. 22, 2013, Ritzer asked Chism to stay after school. Another student who also stayed late that day testified that Ritzer tried to engage Chism a student who had recently moved to Massachusetts in talk about how his new community compared with his old town of Clarksville, Tenn. …

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