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    Philip Chism hit with new rape charge in teacher’s death

    SALEM — The teenager charged with the slaying of a popular Danvers High School teacher pleaded not guilty Thursday to a second aggravated rape charge in a case that stunned students and staff at the school.

    Philip D. Chism, 15, stood between his lawyers as the plea was entered on his behalf in Essex Superior Court.

    He previously pleaded not guilty to murder and armed robbery charges, as well as an earlier aggravated rape count, in the Oct. 22 slaying of Colleen Ritzer, 24.


    He looked straight ahead during Thursday’s hearing and did not glance toward spectators when court officers led him away. He is being held without bail.

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    Members of Ritzer’s family attended the hearing and left without commenting.

    Chism, who was one of Ritzer’s math students, allegedly followed her into a bathroom at the school shortly before 3 p.m. on Oct. 22 and slashed her throat, partially stripped her of her clothing, and stole her cellphone, credit cards, and two driver’s licenses.

    Her body was then carted in a recycling bin to a wooded area behind the school, authorities have said.

    Prosecutors did not disclose details about the new rape charge Thursday. Authorities now allege that Chism raped his teacher twice, once with an unidentified object.


    Prosecutor Kate B. MacDougall said in court that her team has turned over high school video surveillance images to the defense.

    Among other items prosecutors have provided are Ritzer’s autopsy report, DNA test results, and interviews with 34 juveniles, court records show. A court-authorized search of Chism’s cellphone has not been completed, officials said.

    Denise Regan, one of Chism’s lawyers, said Thursday that she must review the vast amount of evidence that prosecutors have already turned over.

    “The Commonwealth has been very forthcoming” with the materials, she said.

    A pretrial conference is slated for April 7.


    Chism is charged as an adult on the murder count and as a youthful offender on the other charges. Under state law, youthful offenders can be placed in Department of Youth Services custody until age 21, but they can also receive adult sentences.

    Convicted murderers face life terms, though the state’s highest court recently struck down life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles.

    A bill pending in the Legislature would keep teenage killers locked up for 35 years before they could seek parole.

    Travis Andersen can be reached at