published Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Teen formerly of Clarksville, Tenn., pleads not guilty in Massachusetts teacher's death

  • photo
    In this Oct. 23, 2013, file photo, Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment for the death of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer as his attorney Denise Regan speaks on his behalf in Salem District Court in Salem, Mass.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SALEM, Mass. — A 14-year-old boy pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery charges Wednesday in the killing of his high school math teacher.

Philip Chism is accused in the Oct. 22 death of Colleen Ritzer, a popular teacher at Danvers High School. Ritzer's body was found in woods near the school with her throat slit and a note reading, "I hate you all."

Chism had already pleaded not guilty in district court, but the case was moved to Superior Court after he was indicted last month. His attorney agreed Wednesday to a prosecution request that he remain held without bail. The hearing lasted for about 15 minutes. Ritzer's family and friends filled two rows of the courtroom.

Chism had recently moved to Massachusetts from Clarksville, Tenn.

Police haven't released a motive for Ritzer's killing. Chism's attorney has declined to comment.

Students told police that Chism stayed after school the day the 24-year-old Ritzer was killed. One student who said she had also stayed after school to receive extra help that day said Chism appeared to become upset when Ritzer began talking about Tennessee.

Search warrant documents made public last month described surveillance video that authorities said showed 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 him pulling a recycling barrel through the school and outside, according to the documents. A recycling barrel was found near Ritzer's body. Authorities said she was sexually assaulted with a stick.

Chism is charged with murder as an adult.

about Associated Press...

The Associated Press

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.