Mass. teen sentenced to at least 40 years for killing teacher

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Teen Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Rape And Murder of Math Teacher

SALEM, Mass., Feb 26 (Reuters) - A Massachusetts judge sentenced a teenager convicted of raping and murdering his high school math teacher to serve at least 40 years in prison, and the victim's father called the killer "pure evil."

SEE ALSO: Lands' End faces severe criticism after website post

Philip Chism, 17, was convicted in December of killing Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at his suburban Boston high school. The sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of release after 40 years, was less than the 50 years prosecutors had asked Essex County Superior Court Judge David Lowy to impose.

"When something terrible happens, people will often say, 'It could always be worse,'" Lowy said. "It is difficult for this court to imagine what could be worse for an individual and family to endure than the brutal murder of Colleen Ritzer."

See images related to the case:

1 PHOTOS
Mass. teacher killing, Philip Chism
See Gallery
Mass. teen sentenced to at least 40 years for killing teacher
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Chism was a 14-year-old freshman who had just moved from Tennessee when he killed Ritzer, cutting her throat with a box cutter and using a recycling bin to dump her body.

"I will never forgive him. He is evil, pure evil," father Tom Ritzer said. He was one of nine friends and family members of the victim who spoke at the sentencing.

Chism's attorneys had asked the judge to make him eligible for parole when he turned 40.

"Witnesses ... testified that he was nice, respectful, kind," said public defender Susan Oker. "So what happened? We stand here today not understanding."

SEE ALSO: Bizarre conspiracy theory about Ted Cruz emerges

Chism's mother expressed sympathy for the Ritzer family.

"Words can't express the amount of pain and sorrow these past two and a half years have been," Diana Chism said. "There is no one who has suffered more than the Ritzer family."

Hours after murdering Ritzer, who had stayed late to help students, Chism was found wandering along a state highway carrying a bag containing Ritzer's identification and the box cutter.

During the trial, defense attorneys did not deny that Chism had attacked Ritzer but contended he was not criminally responsible for his actions due to a long-undiagnosed severe mental illness that was aggravated by the move.

The trial was occasionally delayed by Chism, who was once observed beating his head on a floor, and at another point, refused to return to the courtroom, telling his lawyer he was "about to explode."

(Reporting by Ted Siefer; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Cynthia Osterman)

More from AOL.com:
Marco Rubio reads Donald Trump's tweets one by one onstage, trolling him over his misspellings
White House says list of potential Supreme Court picks not closed yet
Kansas mass shooting suspect had been served protection order
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job 20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job