GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 28, 2013

Alleged killer's mom: My 'heart is broken'

DANVERS — The mother of the Danvers High School freshman charged with the grisly murder of his math teacher says her “heart is broken” for the victim’s family, that she is “struggling to understand” the situation and that her “son was born in love and is dear, very dear” to her.

Diana Chism, mother of murder defendant Philip Chism, 14, expressed her sentiments Saturday through her son’s court-appointed attorney, Denis Regan. It was the family’s first response to the slaying of beloved teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, in a second-floor Danvers High girls bathroom after classes last Tuesday.

“On October 22, 2013, two families were unexpectedly and inconceivably changed forever,” attorney Regan said on behalf of the mother. “Ms. Chism’s heart is broken for the Ritzer family and the loss of their daughter and sister. Ms. Chism would like you to know that her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear. She is struggling to understand this and respectfully asks for some time to process this.”

The statement continued: “She asks that you know that she cares for the world’s hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son, and all those affected by this tragedy.”

Philip Chism is charged as an adult with killing the teacher with a box cutter, placing her bloody body into a recycling barrel and wheeling it out of the school, then dumping it in a wooded area next to the school and covering it with leaves.

NBC News reported Saturday that an investigator told the network Ritzer’s throat was slashed from behind. The youth has pleaded not guilty.

The murder occurred Tuesday after classes were dismissed for the day and following a special tutoring session the teacher had given the student defendant. A school surveillance camera captured Chism following Ritzer into the bathroom and later wheeling the recycling barrel down the hall and out of the school, his clothes bloodied.

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