Mass. Teen Who Raped, Murdered Math Teacher Sentenced to Life

Philip Chism, who was 14 when he raped and stabbed to death 24-year-old Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, was given life, with the chance of parole in 40 years.

Colleen Ritzer; Philip Chism
Colleen Ritzer; Philip Chism WPRI screenshot

A Massachusetts teen who followed his teacher into a school bathroom, then raped and killed her, was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole in 40 years.

According to the Associated Press, Philip Chism, who was 14 at the time of the incident, was convicted in December 2013 in the death of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24. Chism cornered Ritzer in a school bathroom before raping her and stabbing her at least 16 times.

After listening to victim-impact statements, Judge David Lowy called the murder “brutal and senseless.”

“Colleen Ritzer lived a life of quiet heroism,” Lowy said, AP reports. “The crashing waves of this tragedy will never wane.”

Ritzer’s family was hoping for life in prison without the possibility of parole, calling the teen “pure evil.”

Ritzer’s mother, Peggie Ritzer, told the judge that the loss of her daughter has left her “so very broken.”

“Now I isolate myself from people I love because pretending […] to be happy is so difficult,” she said, according to AP. “He is pure evil, and evil can never be rehabilitated.”

Chism’s attorney argued during trial that Chism did, in fact, kill Ritzer, but that he was suffering from a psychotic episode when he attacked her.

Chism’s mother, Diane, expressed her condolences to Ritzer’s family in a statement viewed by AP.

“Words can’t express the amount of pain and sorrow these past two-and-a-half years have been,” she said. “However, there is no one who has suffered more than the Ritzer family. My utmost esteem, prayers and humble respect is with them today as they continue their journey to heal.”

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