***Scroll down for updates***
Some disturbing new details were released today in the murder of 24-year-old beloved high school teacher Colleen Ritzer. Colleen was murdered last month by one of her students, 14-year-old Philip Chism. You can read my first post about the case HERE.
The search warrant affidavit was released today and some of the details are so horrifying, I hate to type them out. Philip was someone who went to school that day with the intent to kill. Armed with a box cutter, ski mask, gloves, and an extra change of clothes, he waited until the perfect time to strike.
Much of the newly released documents are actually a comprehensive timeline of the night Colleen was murdered. Surveillance footage captured Philip following Colleen into the bathroom, and then later removing her body from the location in a blue recycling barrel.
October 22, 2013
*Video Surveillance Footage*
2:28 – 2:32 PM:* Colleen and another teacher are observed talking in the hallway on the second floor.
2:54 PM:* Colleen exits classroom A209 and walks down the hall to the 2nd floor women’s restroom.
2:54 PM:* Philip can be seen walking out of classroom A209 into the hallway and then walking back into the classroom.
2:54 PM:* Philip walks out of classroom A209 and walks down the hallway with a hood over his head.
2:55 PM:* Philip enters the 2nd floor women’s restroom, wearing a hood over his head and gloves on his hands.
3:06 PM:* A student walks into the bathroom, and then quickly leaves back down the hallway.
3:07 PM:* Philip, with the hood over his head, walks out of the bathroom.
3:08 PM:* Philip is walking down the hallway toward the B wing. He walks down the stairs and exits to the A wing student parking lot sidewalk.
3:09 PM:* Philip enters Building A wing doors wearing a white Tshirt, jeans, and grey sneakers.
3:10 PM:* Philip climbs the D wing steps to the second floor, and walks back into classroom A209.
3:11 PM:* Philip exits the classroom with a red hooded sweatshirt over his head. He is now carrying a grey/yellow backpack, black bag and a purple bag.
3:14 PM:* Philip is wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and can be seen pulling a recycling barrel towards the elevator.
3:16 PM:* Philip exits the elevator and pulls the recycling bin towards the second floor bathroom.
3:22 – 3:23 PM:* Philip exits the bathroom wearing a white Tshirt, and a black face mask. He is pulling the recycling barrel to the elevator.
3:25 – 3:32 PM:* Philip can be seen pulling the recycling barrel outside past the parking lot.
4 PM:* Philip can be seen entering A wing, wearing a white Tshirt, jeans, and is now barefoot.
4:01 PM:* Philip can be seen walking toward his locker.
4:04 PM:* Philip is wearing a black shirt, glasses, and a Nike backpack on his back. He is carrying jeans.
4:05 PM:* Philip enters the upstairs bathroom.
4:06 PM:* Philip exits the bathroom and leaves the building.
*End of Video Surveillance Footage*
4:28 PM: Philip’s phone last pings by the Hollywood Hits movie theater. According to the affidavit, Philip purchases a ticket and then leaves afterwards. Philip later directs police to this location, where they find two smashed cell phones.
6:34 PM: Philip’s mom calls police to report him missing after he doesn’t come home from school. She then goes to the police station to fill out a missing persons report.
9 PM: The principal sends an email out to her staff about Philip being missing.
9 PM: A fellow Math teacher calls the principal and tells her that Colleen is also missing and that she is concerned because Colleen’s last class is with Philip.
12:30 AM: Police receive a call that a pedestrian is walking down the street. He is identified as Philip Chism, the boy who had been reported missing. The responding officer frisks him and discovers a bloodied box cutter on him. When he asks where the blood on the box cutter is from, Philip replies, “the girl.” Police also find credit cards, drivers licenses, and a pair of women’s underwear.
The Crime Scene
Police believe Colleen was killed in the 2nd floor women’s bathroom, where they found red/brown stains consistent with blood. On the surveillance video, officers reported that they could also see what looks like blood on Philip’s pants as he leaves the women’s bathroom.
Colleen’s body was found in the early morning hours after a search was conducted at the school. Blood was found in the upstairs bathroom where the murder had occurred, but Colleen’s body was found outside in a wooded area. Her body had been staged in a sexual position, her throat was slit, and she had been sexually assaulted with a stick.
Bloody gloves and a handwritten note that said, “I hate you all” was found by her body.
Police interviewed Philip’s mother the morning after Colleen’s death. She told officers that she and her three children lived in a basement apartment at her aunt’s house. She and her husband had been going through a stressful divorce and had just moved to the area from Tennessee.
Police then interviewed one of Philip’s classmates, who said that she was with Philip and Colleen in the classroom after class had ended on the night of the murder. Both she and Philip were doing extra work with Colleen. While they were working, she said that Philip and Colleen got into a conversation about Tennessee, which made Philip visibly upset. When Colleen noticed that Philip was getting upset, she changed the topic. The student told police that she also observed Philip talking to himself.
Police say they believe this crime was pre-meditated, given the fact that Philip had a boxcutter, a ski mask, gloves, and an extra changes of clothes with him. Given all the evidence it looks like they have, this case might not be so difficult to prove.
Philip has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated rape, and armed robbery. He is facing the murder charge as an adult.
UPDATE: 12/4/13 1:38 PM
Philip appeared in court today and pleaded not guilty to all charges. His attorney agreed to the prosecutor’s request to hold him without bail.
Colleen’s friends and family filled two rows in the courtroom.
UPDATE: 1/21/14 9:15 AM
The Massachusetts District Attorneys Association wants more time added on to sentencing for juveniles who commit harsh crimes in the state of Massachusetts.
The association’s president, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, has written a letter to state lawmakers asking for juveniles who commit murder to spend 35 years behind bars.
In the letter he writes, “This decision is particularly burdensome to the families of the victims of juvenile murderers, as they are now subjected to the possibility that their loved ones’ killers will be released.”
This would definitely affect Philip’s case should their request be granted. As it stands now, if Philip is convicted of murdering Colleen, he will be sentenced to life in prison with the opportunity for parole after only 15 years.
UPDATE: 1/31/14 11:23 AM
A search warrant was released on Monday, and according to the warrant, Philip admitted to police officers that he had murdered Colleen. During the confession, his mother was present and waived his Miranda rights.
The warrant also says that Philip may have taken cell phone pics or video of the crime and then later deleted them.
Philip was also indicted on an additional count of aggravated rape on Monday.
His next court appearance is set for January 30, 2014 for a pre-trial conference.