An Essex Superior Court judge Tuesday denied a bid by Philip D. Chism, the teenager accused in the murder last year of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer, to move his case to juvenile court, rejecting his attorney’s contention that to try him as an adult would be unconstitutional.
“I think there is no case law either nationally or locally which supports the contention that our current statute governing juveniles charged with murder is unconstitutional,” said Judge Howard Whitehead, after a hearing that lasted about 35 minutes.
“I think the argument is going to have to be presented at least to the SJC, maybe to the Supreme Court of the United States, and, frankly, might be more appropriate to the state Legislature,” he said.
Chism was 14 years old when he allegedly attacked Ritzer in a girls’ bathroom in October 2013 at the high school, raping and murdering her, and then dragging her body to a nearby wooded area. Hours later, Chism was found walking on Route 1 in Topsfield and was taken into custody.
Chism is being tried as an adult under state law and has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated rape, and other charges. He is being held without bail.
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