Philip Chism started at his new school just a month ago. His parents had divorced, and he moved with his mother from Clarkson, Tennessee, to Danvers, a town of 26,000 near Boston in the American Midwest. Thus, the shy 14-year-old began to get to know his classmates and teachers. At the same time, it adapts to the new dynamics of daily life. A solitary life and now far from his father, after the conflicted separation.
At first, his classmates saw him as a kind and friendly boy, who gradually integrated into the activities of the municipal school. At one point he even tried out for the basketball team. Nothing predicted that Philip Chism would become the rapist and murderer of his math teacher Colleen Ritzer.
The night of the murder
On October 22, 20113 everything seemed normal in the Danver High School. Classes were over and the math teacher asked Philip to stay after hours to explain a topic the boy had misunderstood and needed reinforcement.
Another student, who was leaving files in his locker, overheard the last conversation between Philip and Colleen. Before closing his locker and leaving, the boy heard Chism screaming and the teacher trying to calm him down. “He was probably upset when the professor asked him about his family, and it reminded him of the bad times he was going through with his parents’ divorce,” said the only witness to the moments before Ritzer’s crime.
We still don’t know what turned the 14-year-old boy who joined his new school in town into a murderer and rapist. But his footsteps were recorded by security cameras in the halls of the school in Danver in scenes of terror.
Philippe went into the bathroom. Colleen, who was on her own, was stabbed and stabbed 16 times inside the school. The weapon used was a box cutter, found in the boy’s backpack the next day when he was captured by police. According to the post-mortem, the teacher was raped twice, once with a stick.
There was a key event that could have saved the teacher’s life. Philip threatened Colleen with a cutter, covered his mouth with a rag and took off his pants. As he was raping her, a student opened the classroom door looking for a place to improve her cell phone signal, but when she saw the naked boy she ran away. The girl later said she had not seen the teacher and believed Philip was changing clothes for basketball practice.
Security cameras, keys
After the crime, a school security camera caught Philip calmly coming out of the bathroom with his bloody hand. Colleen had already been killed. The boy was looking for a trash can so he could remove the teacher’s body from inside the bathroom. At the time, the videos capture him waving at friends, as he searched for something to hide the body, but he acted normal. In subsequent statements to Justice, the young people claimed that they saw nothing strange in Philippe, even though he had just stabbed a woman in the school bathroom.
Colleen never came home from work., he also did not answer his cell phone which was never found. She was reported missing. Philip also did not return home and was reported missing. A few hours after the crime, there were two people missing from the same school. The police started investigating and one of the first things they found was blood in the bathroom.
School surveillance cameras showed Philip taking a dumpster. It was later concluded that the teacher’s body was inside. He took the body to a nearby wooded area.
Colleen’s body he was found the next day in a nearby forest. I was naked. Philip tried to hide the body under a pile of leaves. But a policeman saw a thumb with the nail painted with pink varnish standing out among the dry leaves and branches in the forest. Near the teacher’s body was a note bearing the femicide’s signature: “I hate you all.”
The stages of femicide after the crime
After raping and murdering Colleen, Philip seemed unfazed. The guy went to a traditional bar in Danver called BJ’s Wholesale Club and bought a drink. Then he used the teacher’s credit card, which he stole from her wallet, to buy a hamburger from a fast food restaurant. He continued to wander aimlessly around the city and resumed using his victim’s identifying information. With a few more tokens left, he bought a ticket to see the movie Gravity. What would Colleen’s killer have thought, as he stretched his legs in his chair, chewed the remains of his food, and onscreen Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were forever lost in space.
Leaving the theatre, he continues his career with no destination and is arrested by the police as he wanders along a nearby road in the town of Topsfield, neighboring Danver. In his backpack were the professor’s belongings. He was arrested and charged with rape, robbery and murder.
The police found the bloody box cutter in Chism’s backpack. At a preliminary hearing, an officer testified that when Philip was asked who it was, he replied, “It’s the girl’s.” In the boy’s bag, officers also found the victim’s underwear and bloodstained jeans.
Trial and conviction
Three years after the crime, Philip was put in the dock and tried as an adult, since in the United States the age of criminal responsibility in the United States is 14 years old. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing, raping and robbing Colleen Ritzer.
During the trial, Chism’s defense attorney argued that his client had suffered from a psychotic disorder since childhood and that at the time of Ritzer’s murder he was reacting to voices and hallucinations.
The defense admitted that Chism killed Ritzer, but presented the argument of insanity. Previously, the court determined that Chism was fit to stand trial.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall argued that Chism He did not suffer from mental illness. CCTV footage inside the school, including footage of Chism following his victim into the bathroom, where she was killed, was part of the prosecution’s case. For the judicial official, the boy was able to chat with friends after committing the crime. He even had the chill to eat a burger for dinner and sit down to watch a movie at the town theater with his backpack laden with evidence of the crime he had committed.