Teen who killed Massachusetts math teacher gets minimum of 40 years in prison

Even if Chism makes parole in 25 years, he must serve at least 40 years for concurrent sentences on rape and armed robbery.
By Doug G. Ware   |   Feb. 26, 2016 at 5:22 PM

BOSTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A teenager who raped and killed a Massachusetts math teacher two and-a-half years ago was sentenced Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in a quarter century -- but he won't be able to regain his freedom for nearly four decades, at the earliest.

Philip Chism received the sentence following a hearing that saw the mother of the victim, Colleen Ritzer, 24, address the court and plead for the maximum term allowable.

"As Colleen's mom and her voice in this room, I ask you to sentence him to the maximum possible sentence for these crimes," Peggie Ritzer said before the punishment was given. "He is pure evil and evil can never be rehabilitated. Colleen will never get a second chance and neither should he."

Chism, though, will be eligible for parole in 25 years, but wouldn't be able to get out of prison for at least another 12 and-a-half years after that -- due to the fact Friday's sentence mandates he serve all 40 years of concurrent sentences from rape and armed robbery convictions, the Boston Globe reported.

Peggie Ritzer said after the sentencing that the imposed punishment wasn't enough.

"Today's sentence is unacceptable," she said.

Defense attorneys have asked for parole to be part of Chism's sentence, arguing that emotional and physical abuse he suffered as a child played a role in the attack.

Ritzer was raped and stabbed to death in a restroom at Danvers High School on Oct. 22, 2013. Chism, then 14, was arrested and tried as an adult. He was convicted in December.

"It makes me sick to know that I walked the same halls as her killer. It makes me sick to know I drove by her in the woods and drove home," father Tom Ritzer said Friday. "A dad's job is to protect his family. I didn't protect Colleen. A dad's job is to fix things, I can't fix this."

"Words can't express the amount of pain and sorrow these past two and a half years have been,'' Diane Chism, the convict's mother, wrote in a statement. "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.''

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