Philip Chism: Teenager sentenced to life in prison after raping and killing his maths teacher

Mr Chism was 14 years old when he followed his teacher into a bathroom and murdered her with a box cutter


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The Independent US

A teenager has been sentenced to life in prison after he brutally raped and murdered his high school maths teacher.

Philip Chism was 14 years old when he murdered 24-year-old Danver High School Colleen Ritzer in October 2013.

The Massachusetts teenager was sentenced in Salem Superior Court to a life behind bars with eligibility for parole in 25 years, as reported by ABC News.

The judge listened to statements from Ms Ritzer’s parents, her two younger siblings and colleagues, who wore pink, Ms Ritzer’s favourite colour.

On 22 October 2013 Mr Chism followed his teacher into a school bathroom and used a boxcutter to murder her. Much of the attack was caught by surveillance footage.

He rolled her body out of school in a recycling bin to bury her in the woods, and returned covered in blood. Later that night he went to the cinema and bought a ticket using Ms Ritzer’s credit card.



Philip Chism shown wheeling a large recycling bin outside Danvers High School

The victim's father, Tom, told the court he had gone looking for his daughter at her school but drove home without her, and he said he was “excited” to tell her he had seen her classroom.

“It makes me sick to know that I walked the same halls as her killer. It makes me sick to know I drove by her in the woods and drove home,” he said. “A dad's job is to protect his family. I didn't protect Colleen. A dad's job is to fix things, I can't fix this.”

Ms Ritzer’s mother Peggie described her daughter’s killer as “pure evil” and someone who can “never be rehabilitated”.

“Colleen will never get a second chance and neither should he,” she said, as reported by the Boston Herald.

Ms Ritzer was described as a woman who “loved her job, her students, and loved life” and never had a negative word to say.

Mr Chism, wearing a dark suit and glasses, reportedly showed no emotion during the court case.

Prosecutor Kate McDougall said Mr Chism was “manipulative” and “narcissistic” and reminded the judge that he had also allegedly attacked a woman at a youth detention facility.

She recommended the defendant should receive two consecutive life sentences that would keep him behind bars until he was into his 60s.

Defence lawyers admitted that Mr Chism killed his teacher but argued he was suffering from “severe mental illness”.

Mr Chism’s mother Diane released a statement on Friday, saying her prayers were with the Ritzer family “as they continue their journey to heal.”