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Documents: Slain Mass. teacher Colleen Ritzer's throat cut, chilling note left

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SALEM, Mass. (AP) - 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.

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slarm57 November 22 2013 at 7:18 PM

This was a hate crime! Where are you now Al Sharpton, Rev Jackson and President Obama. Could this young monster be a child of yours as you said about the Martin Boy. A beautiful white teacher going about her day and this black disturbed teenager wipes her off the face of the earth because he hates everyone!!! Why isn't the world in an outrage over this? Where is the anger, news media reports screaming about the injustice done to this beautiful woman. President Obama why aren't you standing before the cameras and condemning this young black man and demanding justice? Oh Yes I see, she is the wrong color.

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3 replies
Franco November 22 2013 at 7:03 PM

Lock him up for LIFE.

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Mary November 22 2013 at 7:03 PM

I'm disturbed by the mental illness that seems prevelant among teens and young men. Life is more stressful for these kids nowadays and we need to have psychologists available at the high schools and reexamine our mental health care system. From mass shootings to suicides, we've got to help these young people to grow up as worthwhile human beings to society. Also, as a person of my generation, i don't understand the bullying that goes on in schools today. High school was one of the happiest time of my life.

Clearly, this boy is mentally ill. Divorce, physical and mental abuse have ill effects on our children, and thus, society. He snuffed out the life of this beauitful woman. Now, his life is essentially over. We have to do a better job with our children.

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dylsxeia November 22 2013 at 7:02 PM

I don't see why everyone is trying to justify this one way or another. The guy did something horribly wrong, and he should face the consequences of that. By all you people justifying his actions (he is black, he is mixed up, he is a teenager, he spilled milk on his pants at breakfast...), you are essentially saying that what he did wasn't wrong. Is that what our society has become? A place where no-one needs to be responsible for anything they do, because there are 99 dimwits that will help them justfiy their actions for every sane person who can see it was wrong and that it needs to be accordingly dealt with.

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2 replies
Clarenceg20 dylsxeia November 22 2013 at 7:06 PM

The " kid" did something horribly wrong. I've never referred to a 14 year old as a guy, no matter how despicable that child may be.

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1 reply
dylsxeia Clarenceg20 November 22 2013 at 8:36 PM

A healthy kid who has been taught right and wrong wouldn't even dream of doing something like this. By specifically referring to him as a kid, we could start believing this was simply a tantrum that should be excused.

In the end, your comment adds no value. Who cares how old he is? He took away another person's life, deliberately. What we refer to him as doesn't make a difference.

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lijaynemarie dylsxeia November 22 2013 at 7:24 PM

No one is giving him an excuse for this. This was a murder, premeditated. The issue is getting ahold of our young people and listening to them. Its not because he had a bad day or because he is a black male teen. He is a kid who was in a very bad way long before he did this. This problem needs to be addressed as a nation of parents who are making our kids pay for our mistakes. You all know who you are. Pay attention to your kids, your teenagers are going to push you away and gravitate toward their friends, that's normal. But that does not mean that you should not be the most prevalent, most important people in their life. Don't let the communication break down. Be their for your kids.

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1 reply
dylsxeia lijaynemarie November 22 2013 at 8:27 PM

I agree that this particular problem should have been addressed 14 years ago when his parents started raising him - now it is definitely too late. This just illustrates what a sad place we live in. When mixed up people (sorry, kids) see that the only way they can get any attention is to do things like this? We can blame the kids, we can blame society, we can blame the parents. The truth is that about 30 years ago, someone decided that respect and responsibility were things that kids should not be taught. And look at where that got us. I bet I know how this will end. The kid will get a slap on the wrist and he will be told "naughty boy - don't do this again". He will go on living among us until he has another moment. The family of the woman who was killed will never recover, but they will accept that the system we have is what we have, and that is it. And the rest of us will sit around and wait for the next sad incident to occur, so we can sprout our holier-than-thou thoughts on what has transpired. No-one is going to take this as a cue to start changing how they behave against their children and other people...

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tylerjp76 November 22 2013 at 7:01 PM

I'm pretty tired of seeing a tragedy turned into a soapbox circus for people to vent their racist hatreds. This is the depraved act of a sick young man, and while I would gladly flip the switch on him myself, it's not about race. Comparing this kid to Trayvon Martin is absurd--an unarmed black teen walking home from 7-11 is stalked by a strange man who is clearly unstable (Zimmerman's prior and subsequent tangles with law-abiding decency say a lot) is then shot and killed when he reasonably freaks out over being followed by someone who is not a cop. The Trayvon Martin scenario has absolutely no correlation to the horrific crime committed by this little psychopath. For the record, the note didn't say "I hate you white people", it said "I hate you all." I won't pretend to understand the mind of this disturbed little prick, but I have to assume that in this case the words meant just what they said--he hates humanity, not just people of a certain skin color. The murder of this young woman is, like I said, a terrible, terrible tragedy, and deserves to be recognized as such--anger is understandable and justified, but the race-baiting reminds me of what I thought was a bygone era.

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1 reply
wizard2 tylerjp76 November 22 2013 at 7:08 PM

Well said!

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renee4326 November 22 2013 at 3:43 PM

He's a major psycho who has no useful purpose among the civilized. His hatred of people and his thoughts of killing can't be fixed. Put him away. The fact that he wasn't howling at the moon, or chasing cars is scarier than if he did.

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soberlyf November 22 2013 at 3:44 PM

They describe this deep-set hatred he had for the school/staff..He moved into the area in Sept, the murder in Oct. Not a lot of time to build up a major grudge there..This kid's elevator doesn't go to the top floor, he's basically a real-life version of a teenage Michael Myers, but worse, Myers didn't rape his victims. I'll do his psych eval. he's evil incarnate. He didn't shoot anyone, he came to school with extra clothes knowing he'd soon be covered in blood, first degree murder, which means no insanity plea will fly...but they'll surely be peering at him through a tiny window with padded walls until he's 18, then, off to a supermax prison for 25-life.

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1 reply
goodguymifl soberlyf November 22 2013 at 3:50 PM

unless he takes the easy way out, and takes his own life. he is a very troubled person and should be in max until he is dead.

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Krysta November 22 2013 at 6:58 PM

Enough about Chism, I would like to read more about the life of the victim Colleen Ritzer!

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pjtap November 22 2013 at 6:57 PM

It doesn't make any difference if the kid is white, black, yellow or red, he needs to be removed from society.

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Ray November 22 2013 at 7:04 PM

Race is involved whether you liberal like it or not. Black on white crime. Get your heads out of the sand.

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3 replies
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