Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Facts

I don't know how I feel about this case yet. But I do know race relations are at a feverish pitch in this country.  Based on the way this story is being covered and the resulting message board comments. People are choosing sides and making presumptions based on race alone. Now let's not jump to conclusions.We don't know the facts

11 Comments:

Blogger Common said...

The body of a popular Massachusetts teacher who police say was killed by one of her students was found in the woods, naked from the waist down and with her throat slit and a note that read, "I hate you all," according to court documents released Friday.

The search warrant application was released after requests by The Associated Press, The Boston Globe and other media organizations.

Philip Chism, a 14-year-old soccer player who moved from Clarksville, Tenn., at the beginning of the school year, is charged with murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in the Oct. 22 death of 24-year-old Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. His attorney, Denise Regan, said Friday she had no comment. He is being held without bail.

Police have not released a motive for the slaying. Autopsy results have not been made public.

A student whose name was concealed in the document told police that the day of the killing, she had stayed for extra help after class and heard Ritzer and Chism talking.

Ritzer mentioned Tennessee, and Chism appeared upset, but the teacher didn't appear to notice and kept talking about it. When Ritzer noticed he was upset, she changed the topic, but the student noticed Chism talking to himself.

According to the documents, surveillance video showed Chism putting on gloves and with a hood over his head as he followed Ritzer into a bathroom. The documents say he brought a box cutter, mask, gloves and multiple changes of clothing to school the day Ritzer was killed.

She was reported missing when she never returned home from school. Her body was found in the woods, partly covered in leaves, and police said it appeared to be sexually positioned. Authorities say she had been sexually assaulted with a stick.

Chism, who had been spotted at a movie theater after the killing, was found walking along a highway in a neighboring town around 12:30 a.m.

A police officer looked in his backpack and found a bloodstained box cutter, according to the documents. Asked where it came from, Chism replied, "The girl."

He also had Ritzer's credit cards and driver's license. He said he found them at a supermarket, then said he got them out of Ritzer's car.

Police questioned his mother, who told them that the family had recently moved from Tennessee and that it had been a stressful divorce. No one answered the door Friday at the Danvers home where Chism lived with his mother, two siblings and an aunt.

The search warrant documents list items taken from the house by police, including a Dell computer, papers, two memory cards and two USB drives.

Court records indicate Chism's parents had difficulties early in their marriage. In a parenting plan included in 2001 divorce papers, his mother, Diana, insisted on supervising any time her husband, Stacy, had with their son and a younger daughter. She cited "prior physical and emotional abuse as well as alcohol abuse" by her husband. Both adults signed the papers.

The divorce was apparently never finalized after both parents signed an order stating they wanted to attempt to reconcile.

Shortly after the killing, Diana Chism released a statement through her son's public defender saying she was heartbroken for Ritzer's family.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Common said...

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — A 14-year-old boy accused of killing his high school math teacher pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery charges on Wednesday.

Philip Chism is charged in the Oct. 22 death of Colleen Ritzer, a popular teacher at Danvers High School. Ritzer's body was found in woods near the school with her throat slit and a note reading, "I hate you all."

Chism had already pleaded not guilty in District Court, but the case was moved to Superior Court after he was indicted last month. His attorney agreed on Wednesday to a prosecution request that he remain held without bail. The hearing lasted for about 15 minutes.

Ritzer's family and friends filled two rows of the courtroom. Chism's mother, Diana Chism, sobbed quietly when he was taken into court. The families left without talking to reporters.

Philip Chism had recently moved to Massachusetts from Clarksville, Tenn.

Police haven't released a motive for Ritzer's killing. Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall said Wednesday nothing during the investigation has pointed to mental health issues. Chism's lawyer, Denise Regan, said she would raise the issue of mental competency "if and when" she feels it's appropriate.

Students told police that Chism stayed after school the day the 24-year-old Ritzer was killed. One student who said she had also stayed after school to receive extra help that day said Chism appeared to become upset when Ritzer began talking about Tennessee.

Search warrant documents made public last month described surveillance video that authorities said showed Chism following Ritzer into a school bathroom, wearing gloves and a hood, then later walking out of the bathroom alone.

A short time later, the video shows Chism pulling a recycling barrel through the school and outside, according to the documents. A recycling barrel was found near Ritzer's body. Authorities said she was sexually assaulted with a stick.

Chism is charged with murder as an adult. He is charged as a youthful offender on aggravated rape and armed robbery charges, which are pending in juvenile court.

For Wednesday's arraignment, Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead was sworn as a special Juvenile Court judge to hear all the charges together.

MacDougall said prosecutors will ask that Chism be tried on all the charges in Superior Court, arguing that the robbery and rape he is accused of were "part and parcel" of the murder. Regan indicated she may oppose that.

The judge said he may send the complicated legal question to the state Appeals Court. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Jan. 30.

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