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Teen accused in fatal stabbing of Mass. teacher

Teen accused in fatal stabbing of Mass. teacher

TEACHER SLAIN: A girl lights a candle at a makeshift memorial for teacher Colleen Ritzer outside the high school where she taught in Danvers, Massachusetts Oct. 23. Photo: Reuters/ REUTERS/Brian Snyde

BOSTON (Reuters) – The Massachusetts teenager who has been charged with murdering a 24-year-old math teacher at his high school used a box cutter to stab the woman, then disposed of her body and went to the movies, local media reported on Thursday.

The 14-year-old, Philip Chism, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the charge of murdering Colleen Ritzer, whose body was discovered in the woods behind his high school in Danvers, Massachusetts, some 20 miles north of Boston.

Chism apparently used a box cutter to stab and cut Ritzer in a second-floor bathroom of the school, the Boston Globe reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement official.

After dumping Ritzer’s body, Chism went on to buy a ticket for a 4:30 p.m. screening of the Woody Allen film “Blue Jasmine,” a law enforcement source told the Boston Herald.

A spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett declined to comment on any details of the case.

The attack marked the second killing of a U.S. teacher by a student this week, following an incident in Nevada in which a 12-year-old boy armed with a handgun shot dead a teacher and wounded two schoolmates before turning his gun on himself.

Police in Danvers began investigating the incident after neither Chism nor Ritzer returned to their homes after school on Tuesday. They had initially issued a missing child report for Chism.

When a search for Ritzer turned up blood in the bathroom at Danvers High School late Tuesday, the police began a criminal investigation. Chism was found walking along a highway a few miles from the school shortly after midnight Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors charged Chism as an adult, which allowed them to release his name and could mean that he would face a longer potential sentence in an adult prison rather than a juvenile facility if he is convicted.

Chism, who played on the Danvers High School junior varsity soccer team, had recently moved to the New England town from Tennessee.

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