Massachusetts Teen Philip Chism Guilty of Murdering and Raping High School Math Teacher
The defense admitted that Chism committed the crime but said he was suffering a psychotic episode
Massachusetts teenager Philip Chism was found guilty Tuesday of murdering and raping his math teacher at Danvers High School in 2013, multiple outlets report.
Chism, now 16, was 14 in 2013 when he strangled and raped Colleen Ritzer. Chism then put Ritzer’s body in a recycling barrel and dragged her to the woods outside the school, where he sexually assaulted her using a tree branch.
Citing the Essex District Attorney’s office, CNN reports that Chism faces life in prison with the possibility of parole between 15 and 25 years.
During the trial, the defense acknowledged that Chism committed the crime, but said he was severely mentally ill and that he has suffered from a psychotic disorder since he was 10. But he was deemed fit to stand trial and was tried as an adult.
“When Philip Chism followed Ms. Ritzer into that bathroom, he was not himself,” defense attorney Denis Regan said during closing arguments on Monday, according to Boston.com.
“He was not a kind, smart 14-year-old boy. He was responding to the terrible command hallucinations in his head.”
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But Essex County District Attorney Kate MacDougall countered that Chism had “a terrible, terrible purpose. And he played it out in the woods and he didn’t care what came after that.”
Chism showed no emotion as the verdict was being read, The Boston Globe reports.