The jury sentenced Chism to life in prison for the fourth degree murder of Ritzer at age 11, but acquitted him of a second rapist act, which occurred with a tree branch in wooded area near the school where he concealed her body. He was also convicted of armed robbery for taking Ritzer’s credit cards and undergarments.
Chism sat expressionless as the guilty verdicts were read in Salem Superior Court. Chism’s mother refused to talk to reporters as she left through the courthouse’s double doors. Ritzer’s parents, on the other hand, called the penalties “a new stage” in their lives during which they wish to continue their daughter’s legacy. What Happened With Colleen Ritzer: Philip Chism Murdered.
Colleen Ritzer: Philip Chism Murdered
Chism’s mother, who has raised him since he was young and is described by relatives as a “loving parent,” said that the family will still be reminded of his acts. “We’ll keep going and do our best to see the good in everything,” Peggie Ritzer, the victim’s mother, added.
During the trial, Chism’s lawyer acknowledged that he murdered Ritzer but said he was suffering from severe mental illness at the time and was not criminally responsible for his actions. When Chism killed Rizer, according to a psychiatrist who testified on behalf of the defense, he was hearing voices and experiencing a psychotic episode.
Kate MacDougall, an assistant district attorney, said in her opening statement that Ritzer was a popular teacher at Danvers High School, about 25 miles north of Boston, and was doing her passion job as a math instructor. On October 22, 2013, Ritzer asked Chism to stay after school.
A different student who stayed late that day stated that Ritzer attempted to engage Chism, a new Massachusetts resident, in conversation regarding how his new neighborhood compared to his old town of Clarksville, Tennessee. The student claimed Chism became visibly enraged and Ritzer eventually changed the topic.
What Happened With Colleen Ritzer?
Ritzer then left the classroom after a brief period. The jurors watched chilling surveillance video in which Ritzer can be seen walking down the corridor to the bathroom. Seconds later, Chism is seen peering out of her room and looking down the corridor.
He goes back into the classroom, but returns with his hood on. Chism is then seen putting on a pair of gloves as he enters the restroom. Minutes later, Chism emerges from the bathroom with Ritzer’s black pants draped over his arm. Police discovered Chism walking beside a highway in neighboring Topsfield, Massachusetts, with a bloody box cutter, mask, gloves, and a hooded sweatshirt in his backpack.
After claiming plausible deniability, the police arrested Chism and charged him with aggravated rape in the woods. According to court documents, his lawyers had said he should be acquitted of the rape in the woods, claiming Ritzer was already dead by then. Prosecutors, on the other hand, said that Chism did not deliver fatal neck stabs until he brought her outside.
Philip Chism Charges Explained
Chism was charged as an adult. On the first-degree murder charge, he faces life in prison. Following judgments by the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, children convicted of first-degree murder in America are ineligible for life imprisonment without parole. Adults convicted of first-degree murder in Massachusetts receive life imprisonment without parole automatically. On December 22, 2016, a status hearing was set to discuss the punishment.
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