A Massachusetts judge heard arguments Thursday for a teen accused of raping and murdering his high school math teacher as lawyers want to have his police confession dismissed as evidence.
Philip Chism’s lawyer say police coereced him into waiving his rights and making detailed statements about the murder of Colleen Ritzer, a popular 24-year-old teacher at Danvers High School. Chism, 15, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and aggravated rape.
— Boston Globe News (@GlobeMetro) August 12, 2014
Chism’s public defender, Denis Regan, is expected to argue in Essex County Superior Court Friday that police never properly read his Miranda rights and had continued to question Chism even after he invoked his right to remain silent and his mother had asked for a lawyer, the StarTribune reported.
Regan’s legal brief contends police pressured Chism’s mother into assisting them with getting a confession out of her son while he was handcuffed in a police interrogation room, according to The Salem News.
Prosecutors allege in previous court filings that on Oct. 22, 2013, Chism followed Ritzer into the women’s restroom after school, raped her and “repeatedly asphyxiated her before or while assaulting her with a box cutter.”
They said Chism put Ritzer’s mutilated body in a recycling bin and he dumped it in the woods. He also took Ritzer’s cell phone, which he destroyed, as well as her wallet. He used a credit card from the wallet to buy fast food and attend a movie at the mall later that day, according to prosecutors.
Chism has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well as to attempted murder and other charges that stem from an assault on a Department of Youth Services worker while in custody for Ritzer’s murder. He has been charged as an adult in his murder charge.