EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 21, 2013

Teen indicted in murder, rape of Danvers High teacher

SALEM, Mass. — An Essex County Grand Jury today indicted Philip Chism, 14, of Danvers, for murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in connection with the Oct. 22 slaying of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer of Andover.

“The indictments returned today detail horrific and unspeakable acts,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “This is the first step in a long process to secure justice for Ms. Ritzer and her family.”

The office of the chief medical examiner has ruled that the manner of the victim’s death was homicide, based on the nature of the injuries, but no determination has been made yet on the exact cause of death. Chism will be tried as an adult.

Aggravated rape is charged when there is serious bodily harm or when the rape was committed during the commission of another felonious and assaultive crime. The indictment alleges an object was used. The armed robbery indictment alleges that the defendant, armed with a box cutter, robbed the victim of credits cards and other belongings.

In the aggravated rape and armed robbery indictments, Chism is charged as a youthful offender, according to the requirements of Massachusetts law. These indictments have initially been returned to the Juvenile Court, but the commonwealth will move to join these indictments with the murder indictment in Superior Court.

Chism remains held without bail. An arraignment date in Superior Court has not yet been scheduled.

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