Teen Indicted for Rape, Murder of Teacher

Posted at 9:15 PM, Nov 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-21 21:15:52-05

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 9.17.45 PM(CNN) — A Massachusetts grand jury Thursday indicted 14-year-old Philip Chism on charges of murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in connection with last month’s slaying of his algebra teacher, according to the Essex district attorney.

Citing Massachusetts law, prosecutors said they would ask that Chism be tried in an adult court.

“The indictments … detail horrific and unspeakable acts,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement.

In a statement, the Ritzer family said: “We are devastated and heartbroken by the details of the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of our beautiful daughter and sister, Colleen.”

Chism allegedly killed Colleen Ritzer, 24, on October 22 in the girl’s bathroom of Danvers High School with a box cutter he brought to school, a source close to the investigation told CNN. Ritzer went to a regular girls bathroom on the second floor when someone was using the locked faculty bathroom.

Chism allegedly followed her in, according to the source. Ritzer was punched a few times before being killed with a box cutter, officials said.

Her body went into a recycling bin, then outside the school where it was tossed, the source said. Authorities eventually found a bin that apparently had been thrown off an embankment some 100 feet away from Ritzer’s body.

After changing his clothes, Chism went to a Wendy’s restaurant and a movie, according to the source.

Denise Regan, Chism’s public defender, declined comment.

The armed robbery indictment alleges that Chism, armed with a box cutter, robbed Ritzer of credit cards, an iPhone and her underwear. The aggravated rape indictment alleges that he sexually assaulted her with an object.

Under the aggravated rape and armed robbery indictments, Chism was charged as a youthful offender, but prosecutors said they will move to join those charges with the murder case in Superior Court.

“This is the first step in a long process to secure justice for Ms. Ritzer and her family,” Blodgett said.

A week after the slaying, about 400 Danvers High School students were among the estimated 1,000 people who gathered to pay final respects at the church where the family of popular math teacher worshiped.

Documents filed in a Tennessee court 12 years ago may shed light on Chism’s past. The court papers showed that Chism’s father agreed during a separation from his mother to have restricted time with his son, who was then 2, because of “prior physical and emotional abuse as well as alcohol abuse.” The documents said the parents were attempting to reconcile.

Chism’s uncle, Terrence Chism Blaine, told CNN in the days after the crime that the boy’s parents are now separated and that the father — a former military man — now lives in Florida.

The suspect’s mother, Diana Chism, last month released a statement through her son’s attorney saying her “heart is broken for the Ritzer family and the loss of their daughter and sister Colleen Ritzer.”

“Her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear,” the statement said.