FOX 25: Student Faces Murder, Rape Charges in Danvers Teacher’s Death

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Attorney Brad Bailey joined Maria Stephanos live from the FOX 25 Beacon Hill studios last night to discuss the indictment of Danvers High School student Philip Chism, who is accused of robbing, raping, and murdering his teacher, Colleen Ritzer. More on the story below.

DANVERS, Mass. ( - A 14-year-old Danvers High School student has been indicted for murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in the death of teacher Colleen Ritzer.

Philip Chism was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury on Thursday.

Investigators said Chism used a box cutter to rob Ritzer, 24, of her credit cards, iPhone and her underwear in the Oct. 22 incident. The indictment alleges Chism sexually assaulted Ritzer with an object.

A medical examiner ruled the manner of Ritzer’s death was homicide. The exact cause has yet to be determined.

“She was counseling him, what made him snap and go after her in this fashion,” Attorney Phil Tracey said.

According to Tracey, Chism’s attorney may only be left with an insanity defense at this point.

“But it’s the only defense in a way because the evidence is clear and the behavior is so strange and so wrong, it’s just disgusting in a way,” Tracey said.

Blood in the school’s second-floor bathroom helped lead investigators to Ritzer’s body, which was dumped in the woods behind the school. Police picked up Chism as he walked along Route 1 in neighboring Topsfield the next day.

Chism had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee before the start of the school year and was a top scorer on the school’s junior varsity soccer team. He had previously pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and is being held without bail.

Ritzer’s family released the following statement Thursday:

“We are devastated and heartbroken by the details of the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of our beautiful daughter and sister, Colleen,” said the Ritzer Family. “As a family, we continue to mourn Colleen’s passing and ask that the media respect our privacy during this very difficult time.”

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