Posts Tagged ‘philip chism’

PHILIP CHISM – The 16-year-old Danvers High School student who was found guilty of murdering his math teacher when he was just 14 will have a probation requirements hearing, but will not appear at it.  Colleen Ritzer, 24, a teacher at Danvers High School was found murdered in the woods near the school in October of 2013.  In addition, Chism’s sentencing date for the murder conviction has been pushed back to February 26th from the original date of tomorrow after a request from a juvenile probation official.  Chism was convicted of aggravated rape, robbery, and first-degree murder and faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 – 25 years.  He faces separate charges of attempted murder for an unrelated incident at a state-run facility where he was awaiting trial.  A hearing on that matter has been set for Feb. 11th.  Chism is accused of attacking a female employee.

Sources:  |  NECN

DYLANN ROOF – The court will draw from a pool of 600 potential jurors for the trial of Dylann Roof, 21, who is accused of murdering 9 people at a Charleston church last year.  He faces 9 counts of murder in state court as well as 33 federal charges (which include hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion).  He’s accused of entering Mother Emanuel Church during a Bible study meeting and opening fire upon the parishioners, which included state Senator Clementa Pinckney.  He injured 3 people and killed 9.  Jury selection is scheduled for June 28th.  The state prosecution has announced their intent to seek the death penalty.  The federal prosecution has stated they will most likely make a decision in March on whether to seek the death penalty.  The judge said that the large pool is necessary due to the complexity of the case.  The pool is about twice as large as a typical trial.

Sources:  WSAV  |  The Guardian  |  Post and Courier

DYLANN ROOF-INSPIRED THEATER SHOOTING – The drifter who walked into a Louisiana movie theater last summer and shot several people left behind a hate journal in which he thanked the man accused of a Charleston church shooting for the “wake up call”.  “Had Dylann Roof reached political maturity he would have seen the word is not [racial slur] but liberal,” 59-year-old John “Rusty” Houser wrote shortly before he fatally-shot two women at a Lafayette theater.  Houser was a former bar owner from Georgia with a long history of mental illness.  He committed suicide after his deadly shooting spree as cops closed in on him.  His journal was found in the Motel 6 he was staying at, entitled:  “Reasons for My Actions.”  Houser was a fan of Donald Trump, who is currently running for Republican Presidential nomination.  He called America “a filth farm” and “If you have not stood against filth, you are now a soft target.”  Houser bashed the media and went on a sexist, racist, and homophobic rant including saying that “40% of whites are now as depraved as the majority of blacks.”  Houser also appeared to rail against religion as well stating, “God is not good.”  In addition, he wrote that women and blacks are not “mentally” equal to white men.  In his final entries, he mentioned “Trainwreck”, the movie that was screening when he entered to begin shooting and a movie time.  “My choice is clear for anyone that is a leader. If you see the truth, you know what is to come.”

Sources:  NBCNews  |  Slate

MCSTAY FAMILY MURDER – Charles “Chase” Merritt, a former business partner of Joseph McStay, is accused of killing the family of 4 and hiding their bodies in shallow graves in the Mojave Desert near Victorville, California.  Prosecutors allege that his motive was greed and that he killed the family with a sledgehammer.  Merritt has fired his defense attorneys.  Following a closed hearing Thursday in San Bernardino Superior Court in which Judge Michael A. Smith conferred with Merritt’s attorneys – Jimmy Mettias, David Askander, Sharon Brunner and Rajan Maline – Smith granted Merritt’s request.  He found that there was a “breakdown in the attorney-client relationship…”  A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday where it will be decided whether he will retain or be appointed a new attorney or represent himself.  The trial is scheduled to begin in April.

Merritt, 58, faces the death penalty if convicted of the February 2010 beating deaths of Joseph, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their children, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3.  Prosecutors allege that Merritt was a gambling addict who was heavily in debt and killed Joseph McStay and his family.  He allegedly withdrew $21,000 out of McStay’s online business account after the family vanished.  He then patronized some casinos in the California area.  The family was discovered by a man riding a dirt bike in the Mojave Desert.  Autopsies concluded that the family was beaten to death by a blunt object.  Investigators believe it was the 3 lb. Stanley sledgehammer found in the shallow grave with Summer McStay and one of her sons.  The prosecution believes the victims were tortured before dying given the extent of their injuries including to their heads, legs, arms, and torsos.

The McStay family was last seen alive on Feb. 4, 2010 when Joseph McStay went to lunch with Merritt at a Chick-fil-A near where Merritt lived to talk business.  Joseph McStay owned the online company Earth Inspired Products, which sold custom-made decorative water fountains.

Sources:  SBSUN  |  Daily Bulletin  |  SBSUN 2 |  Daily Mail


  1. Philip Chism Convicted in his Math Teacher’s Murder and Rape
  2. UPDATED –>  Police Want a Warrant to Photograph Teen Explicitly (Detective Commits Suicide as He is Charged with Unrelated Pedophilia)
  3. Hearing Set for February 5th and Feb. 8th for Adnan Syed, the subject of the record smashing podcasting series, Serial (listen to the episodes here:  Serial Podcast:  Season 1, all 12 episodes)
  4. The son of Ethel Rosenberg, an American executed during the “Red Scare” political controversy in the 50s, wants an Exoneration for his Mother, not a pardon

“The evidence shows that my mother should not have been convicted. It was wrongly obtained through lies in testimony. She was not a spy and would not be convicted today,” Robert Meeropol said.

5.  3 Men in New York Are Innocent of Arson/Murder of Family (Amaury Villalobos, William Vasquez, and Raymond Mora), 1 died in prison, the others spent more than 30 years wrongfully imprisoned  [NYTimes]

6. Calm in Baltimore After Freddie Gray Mistrial Declaration.  Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to retry the case.  Five other officers still face trial.    [ABCNews]

“We thank this hard-working jury for their service to the public, their quest for justice, their personal sacrifice of their time and effort. We are not at all upset with them, neither should the public be upset. They did the best that they could,” said Richard Shipley, Gray’s stepfather.

7.  Hate Crimes Against Muslims Spike Across the United States (and the World:)  Where’s the Outrage? (Salon)

  • The Stunningly Long List of Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since San Bernardino (TPM)  [20 in just 15 days]
  • California Police and the FBI Open Hate Crimes Inquiry Into Vandalism of Mosques [NYTimes]
  • Spike In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Reflects America’s ‘Tremendous’ Bigotry Problem [Mint Press]
  • The Rise of the Hate Search [NYTimes]
  • SPLC Gives a Statement on Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s Call to Ban Muslims from Immigrating to the U.S. [SPLC]

“The mainstreaming of hate and extremism is dangerous to the millions of peaceful Muslims in our country and harmful to the fabric of our society…”

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, anti-Muslim hate crimes jumped 1,600% in the U.S.  After the 2005, London bombings, the rate of hate crimes rose 6-fold.  In 2010, they increased by 50% as anti-Muslim propaganda and speech moved into the mainstream of society.  Earlier this year, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in France, they rose 281%.  Today, anti-Muslim hate crimes are 5 times more common than 14 years ago.  These hate crimes are not unique to the U.S., in the U.K., a salon owner said she would no longer take customers of the “Islamic faith” and in Canada, a mosque in Ontario was burned and a Muslim woman was punched in the face and stomach by two men after they called her a “terrorist”.  [FBI,  Washington Post, ibTimes]

Surveys have shown that there is evidence that citizens take their leaders’ messages to heart when it comes to backlash against groups of people.

“One thing that we did find in our polling immediately in the aftermath of 9/11 is that there was a very clear sense in the data that President Bush’s statement to not blame all Muslims, to make distinctions and not lay upon the Muslim-American population a responsibility for what happened on 9/11, seemed to actually make a difference,” survey research director Scott Keeter said.

This largely seems to be missing today, with more than half of U.S. governors on both sides of the aisle openly opposing Syrian refugees and messages from front-running candidates for 2016 that are questionable at best.

“The mainstreaming of Islamophobia by a number of our nation’s political and religious leaders has encouraged the latest hate-filled actions of anti-Muslim bigots,” CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. “Now is the time for those leaders who are concerned about traditional American values of religious inclusion and tolerance to speak out…”

8.  YOU MAY HAVE MISSED IT:  The Tarboro Three Speak Out on Life After Death Row and the SPLC Case

9.  You Will Be Surprised at What Areas of the U.S. Have the Highest Incarceration Rates (Hint:  It Isn’t LA, Chicago, or NYC)  [The Incarceration Trends Project]




Teen Philip Chism has been convicted of first degree murder, aggravated rape, and armed robbery for the murder of his math teacher Colleen Ritzer in 2013.  Jurors also found Chism not guilty of a second count of aggravated rape.
Chism was charged as an adult and faces life in prison with the possibility of parole between 15 and 25 years.
Chism, now 16, was charged with killing Ritzer, 24, with a box cutter in a bathroom at Danvers High School on October 22, 2013.  Her body was found the next day in the woods behind the school.
“This guilty verdict, while the beginning of justice for Colleen, is certainly no cause for celebration as there can never be true justice for the crime committed. There remains a tremendous and painful absence in our lives — one that, sadly, can never be replaced,” said Ritzer’s father, Tom.
“Colleen never gave up and neither will we. We will not allow Colleen’s death to define how she’s remembered,” he told reporters.
Chism’s defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that Chism is mentally ill and thus not legally responsible for his actions.
Chism was 14 years old at the time of the murder and assault.  Psychiatrists testified that Chism had auditory hallucinations from a young age.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall argued, “There is not one single person in this courtroom who wants to believe that a 14-year-old-boy could have done this and not be crazy. But doing something so awful does not make you crazy.”
Sources:  CNN