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Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Philip Chism murder trial: Teenager who raped and killed his maths teacher faces life in prison
A teenager who raped and killed his maths teacher while at school faces life in prison after being convicted.
Jurors today found Philip Chism guilty of first-degree murder in the death Colleen Ritzer as Danvers High School in Massachusetts.
The teenager’s defence lawyers claimed he was in the midst of a psychotic episode when he stabbed her 16 times in the neck in the women's bathroom.
Prosecutors said the schoolboy, who was 14 at the time, used a box cutter to brutally stab the 24-year-old, before using a recycling bin to take her body into the woods.
Once there he raped her and violated her with a wooden stick before abandoning her half-naked.
He was found guilty of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated rape, including natural and unnatural rape and armed robbery.
Chasm, 16, was found not guilty on a second count of aggravated rape.
During the trial jurors were shown CCTV footage of the pupil following Ritzer into a bathroom, wearing a hood and putting on gloves.
“The only still image that matters in this case is the image of Colleen in the woods,” prosecutor Kate McDougall told jurors who deliberated over two days.
Jurors rejected the defence argument Chism suffered a psychosis despite the teen's family having a history of mental illness.
“When Philip Chism followed Miss Ritzer into that bathroom, he was not himself. He was totally and absolutely responding to the terrible command of the hallucinations in his head," attorney Denise Regan had told them.
The prosecution argued Chism is manipulative and lying, and not legally insane.
The schoolboy had recently moved to Massachusetts from Clarksville, Tennessee, when he committed the crime.