SALEM, Mass. (Reuters) – Massachusetts prosecutors on Monday are set to open their case against a 16-year-old charged with raping and murdering a popular teacher at his suburban high school two years ago.
Philip Chism, 16, is being tried as an adult in the murder of Colleen Ritzer, who had been a popular 24-year-old teacher at his high school in Danvers, Massachusetts, a town of 26,000 people about 20 miles (32 km) north of Boston.
Defense attorneys are expected to mount an insanity defense to account for his actions on Oct. 22, 2013, when he was a 14-year-old freshman.
That day, prosecutors contend, Chism followed Ritzer into the bathroom after school, raped her, cut her throat with a box cutter, and transported her body off campus in a recycling receptacle. Ritzer’s body was found in woods near Danvers High School with a note reading: “I hate you all.”
Prosecutors are expected to argue that Chism was upset by a conversation he had with Ritzer and that he was aware of his actions. Chism is also accused of taking Ritzer’s credit card, which prosecutors say he later used to buy fast food and a ticket to a movie at a nearby mall.