Yesterday Superior Court Judge David Lowy sentenced Philip Chism to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 25 years for the murder of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. He also sentenced Chism to two 40 year sentences for her rape and robbery committed by Chism. All three sentences will be served concurrently meaning that the earliest he could be released is in 40 years minus the time served he spent in prison awaiting trial. As I’ve mentioned before Chism could not be sentenced to life without parole since the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that LWOP for teens is unconstitutional as it is considered cruel and unusual.
Colleen Ritzer’s mother had this to say about the sentence…
“Today’s sentence is unacceptable and the laws must be changed,” Peggie Ritzer said at a news conference. “Colleen’s family, friends, students, and those who admired her have been given a life sentence without parole, but not the individual who committed the heinous act. This is wrong and unjust.”
I couldn’t agree more. Chism not only slashed Ms. Ritzer’s throat with a boxcutter but he also raped her and violated her with a tree branch before leaving her body in the woods while he went to a movie with the money he took from her. LWOP is the least that this monster should have received. His age at the time of the crime, 14-years-old, should not be used as excuse for such brutality. There’s no way in hell that someone his age doesn’t know what he’s doing is wrong and the law should reflect it. The more we absolve actions like this the more frequent they’ll become.