GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Latest Cape Ann News

October 26, 2013

Judge impounds key case documents

DANVERS — Prosecutors and investigators continued to withhold details Friday in the case of a slain Danvers High math teacher, citing, among other reasons, concern for the victim’s family.

As family and friends prepared for the funeral of Colleen Ritzer on Monday, investigators continued to work on the case but remained tight-lipped about details.

An autopsy has been conducted, but prosecutors are awaiting the results, said a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

A high-profile prosecutor, Kate MacDougall, has been assigned to prosecute Philip Chism, the 14-year-old student accused of killing Ritzer sometime after school on Tuesday.

In their effort to limit the release of information, prosecutors asked a Salem District Court judge late Thursday afternoon to seal all documents pertaining to a search warrant issued in the case, including the affidavit by state police trooper Robert LaBarge, the results of the search and even the motion asking that the materials be impounded. Those documents are normally available to the public.

“The motion actually contains some of the sensitive information we didn’t want released,” said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. “The affidavit in support of our motion contained information that may be prejudicial to the defendant.”

She added that information in the documents “may contribute to the increased psychological and emotional distress of the victim’s family and others.”

“It also contains names of witnesses which we have not had an opportunity to call before the grand jury,” she said.

Judge Michael Lauranzano ordered the materials impounded at 4:14 p.m. Thursday, just minutes before the court closed for the day.

Investigators are believed to have searched for evidence from several locations, including the second-floor bathroom where blood was found by police searching for Ritzer that night, the wooded area next to school where her body was found and Chism’s Danversport home.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA