Weatherford Democrat

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November 22, 2013

Affidavit describes chilling rape, murder of teacher

DAMVERS. Mass. — A police affidavit was unsealed Friday in the recent slaying of a popular high school math teacher, disclosing scary details tying the 14-year-old student defendant in the case to the murder.

The affidavit by State Trooper Robert C. LaBarge Jr., said teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, was raped and then killed Oct. 22 when her throat was cut with a box cutter in a girls bathroom at Danvers High School in this Boston suburb.

The affidavit said the murder was planned and that a folded note -- declaring, "I hate you all." --  was found next to  Ritzer's partially buried body in the woods adjacent to the school early the next day. The document said her body was in a sexually staged position and mostly naked.

Philip D. Chism, a freshman in Ritzer's math class, was indicted Thursday by a grand jury on first-degree murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery charges -- the latter stemming from theft of the teacher's credit cards, underwear and cellphone.

The teenager was arrested and held without bail as an adult defendant the day Ritzer's body was discovered. But the police affidavit was sealed until after the grand jury could hear the case and return indictments.

The affidavit said school surveillence cameras showed Ritzer talking with another teacher in a second-floor hallway around 2:30 p.m. on the day of the murder, then heading to the nearby girls bathroom. The videotape shows Chism, wearing a hooded sweatshirt over his head and putting on gloves, entering the bathroom a few minutes after Ritzer, said the affidavit.

There's no surveillance camera in the bathroom  but the hallway cameras showed Chism leaving the bathroom -- now wearing a white T-shirt, jeans and gray sneakers -- and returning to the teacher's classroom, which he then leaves, wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and  carrying a backpack, and two bags.

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