Philip Chism Found Guilty of First Degree Murder
Philip Chism appeared emotionless in court on Tuesday when a jury of eight men and four women found him guilty of the savage murder of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer in 2013 when he was just 14.
Chism, now 16, was also found guilty of two additional counts of aggravated rape and armed robbery.
The Essex Superior Court jury failed to convicted him on an aggravated rape charge. The jury’s conviction on three of the four counts against Chism was a strong rejection of the defense’s insanity defense. Attorneys for Chism argued that he was experiencing a “psychotic break” during the murder. Prosecutors presented multiple witnesses that claimed Chism was faking his own mental illness.
Dramatic video from inside Danvers High School showed Chism stalking Ritzer into the girls bathroom at Danvers High School, where he assaulted and raped her. He later transported her, still alive, in a trashcan from the restroom to a wooded area behind the school where he proceeded to rape her again, this time with a tree branch. According to police investigators, Chism finally killed Ritzer when he stabbed her neck with a box cutter. An autopsy found Ritzer was stabbed a total of 16 times. A medical examiner concluded Ritzer faced two causes of death: asphyxiation and stabbing.
Chism will be sentenced at a later date and could spend the rest of his natural life in prison.