Teen Sentenced for Raping, Killing Teacher

Philip Chism gets life in prison
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 26, 2016 2:40 PM CST
Teen Sentenced for Raping, Killing Teacher
This Dec. 14, 2015, file photo shows Philip Chism appearing in Salem Superior Court, during closing arguments.   (Mark Lorenz/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool, File)

A teenager who raped and killed his high school math teacher was sentenced Friday to life in prison with eligibility for parole in 25 years, the AP reports. Philip Chism was convicted in December in the 2013 death of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. He was 14 when he followed the 24-year-old Ritzer into a school bathroom, strangled her, stabbed her at least 16 times, and raped her. Judge David Lowy pronounced the sentence after hearing victim-impact statements from Ritzer's loved ones. He called the slaying "brutal and senseless."

Prosecutors had asked that Chism stay in prison for at least 50 years. Defense attorney Susan Oker asked for a sentence that would make Chism eligible for parole no later than age 40. She cited scientific studies that said a juvenile brain is not fully developed. Chism's mother, Diane, released a statement Friday expressing her condolences to Ritzer's family. "Words can't express the amount of pain and sorrow these past 2 1/2 years have been," she said. "However, there is no one who has suffered more than the Ritzer family. My utmost esteem, prayers and humble respect is with them today as they continue their journey to heal." (More Philip Chism stories.)

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