Teen Admits He Killed His Teacher, But Denies He Raped Her First

Teen kills teacher

*Philip Chism sat straight faced in court and showed no emotion as the charge of murder was put before him. He has been accused of killing his high school math teacher and even described the chilling details to police, claiming he knocked her out with a “karate chop” before he sliced her neck -twice – with a box cutter, according to a police detective who spoke on Friday at a pre-trial hearing.

 But though he  described the heinous crime to authorities, Chism, now 15, denied raping Colleen Ritzer, a very popular teacher, before killing her on Oct. 22, 2013, Danvers Det. Sgt. Phil Tansey said.

Tansey said Chism also helped investigators recover Ritzer’s body by showing on a map where he dumped it in the woods behind the school.

The statements come from the detectives amid a request to the judge by Chism’s legal team as to have his confession and other evidence seized from him the night he was detained tossed out as evidence before trial.

The judge is considering the request at this time.

Philip Chism, left, and Colleen Ritzer, right
Philip Chism, left, and Colleen Ritzer, right

Superior Court Judge David Lowy made no ruling; the hearing is expected to continue later this month.

Authorities say surveillance video from Oct. 22, 2013, shows Chism following Ritzer into a school bathroom, wearing gloves and a hood, then later walking out of the bathroom alone.

A short time later, the video shows Chism pulling a recycling barrel through the school and outside.

Ritzer’s body was later found in nearby woods, naked from the waist down and with her throat slit and a note that read, “I hate you all.”

A recycling barrel was found near Ritzer’s body. Authorities said she was sexually assaulted with a stick.

Earlier Friday, prosecutors called on state Police Detective Lt. Norman Zuk, who testified that Chism said a “trigger word” had set him off before the murder. Zuk did not say what that word was.

Defense lawyers, meanwhile, called on Dr. Thomas Grisso, a retired University of Massachusetts professor and expert in juvenile psychiatry.

Grisso testified about a juveniles ability to understand the implications of waiving their right to not speak with police and said they tend to be more easily swayed than adults because they focus more on the short term benefits, such as getting to go home, sleep or eat.

Defense lawyers say Chism was detained by police for more than three hours after he was picked up around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 23.

They say he had been handcuffed for most of the time, was not allowed to make a phone call and had asked a number of times for food.

Chism has pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated rape. He is being tried as an adult.

Chism’s lawyers say police coerced his mother, Diana, to get her then-14-year-old son into waiving his rights and making detailed statements about the murder.

Prosecutors maintain Chism, who had recently moved to Massachusetts from Clarksville, Tennessee, and his mother never absolutely invoked their right to a lawyer.

At a hearing last week, prosecutors played audio from Diana Chism’s interview with police.

The mother said her son was “capable of snapping” under the recent stress of his parents’ separation and that his family had a history of mental health issues.

Two local police officers also testified they found Chism carrying Ritzer’s ID and credit cards, a bloody box cutter and women’s underwear. Chism told the officers a woman was “buried in the woods” and could not be helped.

One thought on “Teen Admits He Killed His Teacher, But Denies He Raped Her First”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *