Judge: Teen to be tried as adult in teacher death

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Judge: Teen to be tried as adult in teacher death
Philip Chism, 15, from Danvers, Mass., and his attorney Denise Regan look toward the bench in a courtroom at his arraignment on a second rape charge in Salem Superior Court in Salem, Mass., Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Chism has been accused and charged with raping and killing his Danvers High School math teacher, Colleen Ritzer, in October 2013. (AP Photo)
Philip Chism is escorted into Suffolk County Juvenile Court Wednesday, July 23, 2013, in Boston, where he was arraigned for allegedly assaulting a state worker while he was in custody at a Department of Youth Services facility. Chism has also been charged with murder in connection with the October death of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, after following her to a bathroom. (AP Photo/Boston Globe, Wendy Maeda, Pool)
Phillip Chism, 14, from Danvers, Mass., sits between his attorneys during his arraignment in Salem Superior Court, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, in Salem, Mass. Chism is charged in the Oct. 22 killing of a popular Danvers High School Math teacher Colleen Ritzer. He pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery charges Wednesday. He will remain held without bail. (AP Photo/The Eagle-Tribune, Paul Bilodeau, Pool)
Philip Chism, 15, from Danvers, Mass., is led into the courtroom at his arraignment on a second rape charge in Salem Superior Court in Salem, Mass., Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Chism has been accused and charged with raping and killing his Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer in October 2013. (AP Photo)
BOSTON - JULY 23: Dianna Chism, left, watches her son's arraignment at Suffolk County Juvenile Court. Philip Chism is accused of assaulting a state worker while he was in custody at a Department of Youth Services facility. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
DANVERS, MA - OCTOBER 25: Students walk in front of a makeshift memorial at Danvers High School on October 25, 2013, the first day school opened after Philip Chism, 14, was charged with killing beloved Mathematics teacher Colleen Ritzer. (Photo by Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Parents and Danvers High School students hold candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School, on Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013, in Danvers, Mass. Ritzer's body was found in woods behind the school, and Danvers High School student Philip Chism, 14, who was found walking along a state highway overnight, was charged with killing her. (AP Photo/ Bizuayehu Tesfaye)
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By PHILIP MARCELO

BOSTON (AP) - A teenager accused of raping and killing his math teacher on high school grounds lost his bid Tuesday to be tried as a minor.

Philip Chism, who is now 15, is charged with robbery, rape and murder in the attack on Colleen Ritzer, 24, at Danvers High School in October 2013. At the time, he was a 14-year-old freshman who had recently moved from Tennessee.

Chism's attorney, Denise Regan, argued in court Tuesday that the state's youthful offender law, which requires minors 14 years of age and over charged with murder be automatically tried as adults, violates her client's constitutional rights of "equal protection, due process, fundamental fairness and freedom from cruel or unusual punishment."

"Massachusetts is an outlier in its mandatory harsh treatment of juveniles," she said. "There is no discretion involved."

Regan also argued that there is no reason for Chism to be tried as an adult, since juvenile courts can hand down life sentences. "The reason why a 14-year-old is in adult court is to stigmatize him," she said. "There is no other rational basis to do it."

Essex County Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall countered that if tried and convicted in the juvenile system, Chism could be eligible for parole before he turns 30. "That's the reality of what we are dealing with here," she said.

MacDougall said Chism is accused of "one of the most heinous and brutal murders that a person could possibly commit."

In court papers, prosecutors wrote that Chism had followed Ritzer into the girl's bathroom after school, raped her and "repeatedly asphyxiated her before or while assaulting her with a box cutter."

He then put her mutilated body in a recycling bin and dumped it in the woods, prosecutors said. He took Ritzer's cellphone, which he destroyed, and her wallet, which he used a credit card from to buy fast food and attend a movie at the mall later that day, they said.

Salem Superior Court Judge Howard Whitehead denied Chism's request to have the youthful offender charges dismissed.

Chism also faces attempted murder and other charges stemming from an assault on a Department of Youth Services worker while in custody earlier this year.

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