The Death of Colleen Ritzer by Murderific True Crime Podcast

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Murder + Horrific = Murderific.

Philip Chism was a 14-year-old boy who attended school in Massachusetts, who had no outward signs of trouble or aggression. Yet on October 22, 2013, Colleen Ritzer – a beloved math teacher – had been raped and stabbed multiple times by her student, Philip.

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Welcome to True Crime by Indy Drop-in each week we feature an episode from the best independent creators hit subscribe for more great, true crime content. If you would like to help indie drop in support indie creators, you can buy us a coffee, just go to or click the link in the show notes below. Today’s episode is from Murdererific. Don’t forget to check out the show notes for links to subscribe and follow us on social media. Enjoy the show.

Welcome true crime fans. It’s easy to support Murderific true crime podcast. Go to Patreon and search for Murderific to contribute or look in our show notes for the links joined today for monthly bonus episodes and access to the regular podcast a week early and ad free.

Plus fun March and shout outs. Please keep us independent Content warning. The murder ethic. True crime podcast contains offensive language and we’ll have information about kidnappings torture, murder, and sexual assault. It is inappropriate for children or the faint of heart. The latest on the shocking killing of the high school math teacher, a 14 year old student. You see they’re under arrest right now and ABC’s Giovanni Tez.

(1m 31s):
This live in Danvers, Massachusetts with the latest good morning, geo good morning to you, Robin, that beloved teacher, just 24 years old, her accused murderer, a JV soccer player here at the school. He had just transferred here from Tennessee. Philip Chism was a 14 year old boy who attended Danvers high school in Massachusetts and played soccer for fun. A child with no outward signs of trouble or aggression. Yeah, on October 22nd, 2013, he took a ski mask gloves, changes of clothes and a box cutter to school with him by the end of this normal school day, Colleen rinser a beloved math teacher had been raped and stabbed multiple times.

(2m 16s):
Her body dumped in the woods. This is their story on episode 39, season four of murderer. Yeah. Welcome to my guests, Casey out of folks. Thanks for joining me today. Please stay tuned to the end of this episode, we’re going to have a promo from evidence of a crime. And I also wanted to thank scooter for becoming a patron of murderer effect. Thank you so much. Yeah. Scooter has been a fan from the beginning. She’s also contributed on PayPal a few times and it’s very helpful to keep us going.

(2m 59s):
So thank you. This episode will have info on violent rape. Keep that in mind. If you’re easily triggered, there will be gratuitous details on this episode. Just a quick question, Casey, how do you decompress from researching these crimes and doing these podcasts? I don’t because I live with you. So I’m not researching the episodes that I do with you. You’re talking about the episodes that you’re going to do. Am I traumatizing you? Yes, I’m, I’m definitely PTSD.

(3m 40s):
Let’s start by talking about the two main people in this story. And we will start with Coleen. Rinser. Colleen was born in Lawrence mass on may 13, 1989. Coleen had dreamed of being a teacher since she was a child. She graduated from assumption college in Worcester, mass in 2011 and began teaching. She was in her second year of teaching algebra and geometry at Danvers high school and Dan versus a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. She was dedicated, passionate, and she inspired her students.

(4m 20s):
She cared about her students deeply and worked with kids afterschool who needed extra help. You know how you went to school. And there were lots of teachers who don’t give a shit or just teach to get by. Well, Colleen was not one of those teachers. She cared about her students. Everyone loved her and she loved her job. Absolutely. By all accounts, she lived with her parents to save money. She loved sitcoms like full house or boy meets world. She was active on Twitter. In fact, one of her tweets said, quote, every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day and quote, she liked to wear pink Uggs, her favorite color.

(5m 9s):
She smiled at students. She didn’t even teach. Coleen was 24 years old, a young vibrant giving person. Phillip Chisholm was born January 21, 1999 to Stacy Chisholm and Diana Chism. He has a sister named Isabella and she is four years younger than him. The family lived in Tennessee and Florida and they moved around a bit. The parents were married in September, 1998, but by March of 2001 Diana had filed for divorce, citing physical and emotional abuse and alcohol abuse. So it seems like Philip probably saw a lot of physical abuse and may have some trauma from that by summer of 2001, a couple had reconciled.

(5m 59s):
So the divorce was not finalized. Phillip’s dad was in the military and when he wasn’t deployed, he would go to Phillip’s soccer games sometimes wearing his military uniform in 2013, the family moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee without their father. Before Phillip began his freshman year at Danbury high school, he was a top score of the school’s junior varsity soccer team. They moved into his aunt’s home, trying to get some stability amid the messy divorce that his parents were involved in. Phillip was quiet, polite, any had good grades, Coleen and Philip had a basic teacher student relationship on the day of October 22nd, Coleen Richard saw Phillip jarring in class and she asked him to stay after school because she wanted to help him prepare for an upcoming test.

(6m 60s):
All right, we’re not gonna waste any time. We’re going to get right into the crime, which happened on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, like we said, after that algebra class Coleen had Phillips stay after with another student for a few minutes, there was some small talk going on during this session with a small talk Coleen said something to fill up about leaving Tennessee, which seems to have triggered Philip in some way. He began muttering under his breath, almost talking to himself. So Coleen changed the subject at that point at two 54, Coleen exits her classroom and goes down the hall to the second floor.

(7m 44s):
Women’s restroom. She waved to somebody in the hall, which is also on video. At the same time, Phillip leaves the same classroom. He looks down the hall. He looks to see if anyone’s there. He appears to change his mind for a minute. And he walks back into the classroom. And when I say change his mind, he was probably thinking of why he was going to do next. He seems to reconsider. And then he goes back into the classroom, comes back out with a hoodie over his head. He walks down the hall, Philip enters the same bathroom that Coleen goes into, but he has gloves on his hands and this is going to get pretty graphic.

(8m 28s):
He walks up behind Coleen. He has a box cutter and he attempts to cut her throat. But the box cutter is not sharp enough. So he does it again. He also stabs her 16 times three of those stabs hit major blood vessels on Coleen’s body. So there’s blood all over the place. And then Phillip does the unthinkable and he rapes Colleen in the bathroom. And by the way, all of this video footage, obviously not the bathroom scene is on YouTube or pretty much any way you can stream video. Yeah. The school had over 200 cameras.

(9m 9s):
So it really accounted for Phillip’s actions. That day 3:06 PM, which was about 11 or 12 minutes after Phillip initially went into the bathroom. The camera shows that another female student walked into the bathroom. At that time, you can also see that she left quickly and by her account later on, it was because she thought she saw a bare bottom and clothes on the floor. So she quickly hurried away. She said the skin color that she saw on that bottom was of a darker complexion. And there’s a few accounts, but either she said, she thought someone was having sex in the bathroom.

(9m 51s):
Or she thought someone was changing either way. Right? She seemed embarrassed to have caught somebody in the act of something. She didn’t know what it was. So she took off at three Oh seven. Phillip leaves the bathroom with the hood, pulled over his head. He leaves the bathroom alone. Blood is visible on his pants and there’s lots of blood on his gloved hands. He goes outdoors and then comes back and he comes back with a recycling ban. Now you can see on the camera, he’s like going into the classroom, out of the bathroom outside. And he appears to change his clothes multiple times.

(10m 32s):
I don’t know what exactly he’s thinking. Maybe he got blood on his clothes and when he was going out, he didn’t want it to show. So it’s hard to know what he was thinking. Definitely. Wasn’t very organized. Phillip enters the bathroom where he was previously with Colleen at three 22, he comes out of the bathroom, pulling the recycling bin and then he goes outside. Video catches them again at 4:00 PM. Outside. Coleen is not seen on camera at any point after entering the bathroom. So we can talk about this video a little bit. You can see that he’s very erotic. His actions don’t really make a lot of sense because he went into the bathroom and killed her, comes out and then puts a ski mask on which doesn’t even make sense.

(11m 25s):
Yeah. So he didn’t know he was being taped at any point. Cause you see some of the earlier footage, there’s no disguising whatsoever. He, I mean, he did pull his hoodie over his head after he came out of the classroom the first time. But he had walked out into the hall without that hoodie pulled over his head, he him and he was on camera and he just didn’t know what, but if we didn’t know it, there were two times. If you watch the footage where he directly looks into the camera, right? So that’s very odd to me. One of his friends had offered to help him with the recycling bed.

(12m 5s):
He was just taking the recycling bin outside, like he was taking trash out and fill up, waved him off. And he said, go to the soccer field. Phillip was in the woods for a good five minutes. That friend that witness said Philip took Colleen’s body out while it was in the woods, out of the recycling bin, he propped her up against a tree and he found a tree branch and he inserted it into her vagina. There was a neatly folded note close by and it said, I hate you. All police interviewed Phelps mom, Diana, the day after Coleen staff, she spoke of a painful divorce and stressful divorce.

(12m 49s):
She was going through with her husband. Of course I recently had moved from Tennessee to Massachusetts and this was extremely stressful for Phillip. One of Phillip’s classmates had been in the classroom with Phillip and Coleen doing some extra work. The teacher began talking to Phillip about Tennessee and he became visibly upset. As you had pointed out earlier, Philippian talking to himself at this point, his whole demeanor had changed. So there doesn’t seem to be a motive except this teenager wanted to rape Coleen, took a box cutter, ski mask, gloves and extra clothes with him in a premeditated act.

(13m 31s):
He brought a murder kit to school. Yeah. So no matter what she said to trigger him, he obviously had a plan in mind and took that opportunity to execute it. Phillip did not go home after school that day and his mother reported him missing. He didn’t show up for soccer practice. His mother reported him missing that evening, October 22nd, at six 34, please pinged his phone to get the location. And his mother called his friends. His friends were looking for him and they were actually posting things on Twitter saying, Hey, fill up. I hope you’re okay. The phone showed that he was near the Hollywood hits theater where police learned, he had bought a movie ticket for blue Jasmine, the Woody Allen movie.

(14m 21s):
He got the ticket and then laughed. He paid for this with Coleen Richard, his credit card. And he also ate at Wendy’s with Coleen’s credit card. Okay. Obviously not the smartest criminal. No, but who is smart as a teenager, right? At this point, do you think he was expecting to get caught at 9:00 PM? The school principal sent out an email to staff about Phillip being missing and at the same Coleen was reported missing by her mother at 11:20 PM. Her friends had been looking for her all afternoon and I don’t believe the police thought the cases were connected yet.

(15m 4s):
They didn’t really have the pieces together on the 23rd, around 12:30 AM on route one in Topsfield police saw Philip walking, not dressed for the weather on Philip police found Coleen Richard’s ID and credit cards of bloody box cutter and a pair of pale blue women’s underwear while he was being Frist. And also in his backpack, police asked Phillip who the blood belonged to. And he said, quote, the girl police were told by Philip a woman was already buried in the woods and that she could not be helped. He also showed police on a map where the woman was calling.

(15m 48s):
His family had been to the school in the afternoon and saw that her car was still there. What they did not know was that after 4:00 PM, blood from the bathroom had been mistakenly cleaned. So what happened was the janitor who spoke Spanish, went into the bathroom and saw a crime scene and went out and discussed it with someone who spoke English and told them about it. And then that person said, here’s a hose, clean it up. And I don’t understand why they didn’t bring this person back into the bathroom and showed them the crime scene, but he cleaned up the crime scene.

(16m 28s):
And at that point, the school started looking at surveillance footage to try to find out where Coleen was around 3:00 AM. Coleen is found half naked behind Danvers high school. The recycling bin was nearby and blood soaked gloves, bloody jeans, bloody socks. And also the note that up Chisholm had left behind. As we said earlier, her neck was slit and she had been sexually assaulted. She had also been strangled during that assault, along with the stabbing. So some serious overkill there. The night Phillip was detained for three hours.

(17m 9s):
He told police he not calling out with a karate chop before slicing her neck to time for the box cutter. He didn’t discuss the rape or assault anymore. At this point, he was handcuffed for these three hours, not allowed a phone call and ask for food. A number of times, Oh, poor Philip wants food, poor Philip Philip’s mother. Diana had gotten her son to waive his rights and make a detailed statement about the murder. Phillip did deny raping Coleen in the bathroom, but that’s questionable because he was seen in the bathroom by another student with his pants down.

(17m 50s):
He said that day he quote unquote, became the teacher. Please had found Coleen’s blood spatter on the bathroom wall at the high school. They also found two smashed cell phones where Phillip had been at the movies earlier in the day, Phillip was arrested on the 23rd of October. After Coleen was found, I November 21st, 2013, Phillip was indicted by the grand jury on charges of first degree murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery. He would be charged as an adult and he was deemed competent.

(18m 31s):
As we know, the Supreme court has said that you cannot send a teenager who commits a crime to jail for life. I’m a little confused why he was charged as an adult, but as we know, the sentence cannot be life in prison because he was 14 years old. He pled not guilty to all charges. And he received a no bail. He was held at a youth facility. Warrants were served to search where Phillip was living and his computer during this time court was held at the Salem superior courthouse. The trial started in November of 2015 and Phillip was now 16 years old.

(19m 16s):
The prosecution had presented their evidence. They had the teen who saw the bathroom scene, which we had described earlier. They had all of the video surveillance that day, which was up to 200 motion activated cameras where the video, they also had Venetia per mental. Sorry about that. Pronounciation but he was the member of the cleaning crew who found blood in the second floor bathroom. He had told the custodian quote, I found blood, but he said it in broken English, the other custodian, Dan Marshall thought, he said, I found blue.

(19m 56s):
So he gave Vinicio a hose and a key to the water spigot. And then he cleaned all of the blood off the floor. They also found a diamond earrings. Stud the prosecution also had the fact that semen found on Richard, his body belonged to Philip Chism. And there’s no getting out of evidence like that. Another student testified seeing Phillip struggling with a recycling bin, Phillips fingerprints were found on the recycling bin in court. The jury was shown photos of Richard’s body left in the woods. The prosecution said Philip came to school that day with a purpose. The prosecution was not allowed to use the confession as he did not understand his constitutional rights before he spoke to the police.

(20m 44s):
And also he didn’t get a lawyer for those three hours. So that was thrown out. But as you can see, the prosecution had overwhelming evidence that fella Chisholm committed this murder. She’s employers planned a mental health defense, and that he was suffering from a psychotic break. At that time of the slain, the defense relied on testimony from a psychiatrist who said the teen was mentally ill and that impaired his day-to-day ability to deal with reality. They also brought up mental illness that ran through the mother’s side of the family, including his grandmother. The defense didn’t really have much to work with.

(21m 24s):
I mean, Phillip wasn’t really mentally ill. He was a normal polite boy who made this decision. The jury only deliberated one day and on December 15th, Phillip Chisholm’s convicted of rape robbery and murder of Colleen rinser. Phillip showed no emotion and his mother collapsed. Phillip was found not guilty of raping Colleen with the stick in the woods, because most likely she was dead by that time. So they were saying, because she was dead, that it really wasn’t considered a rape, but it’s hard to tell what really happened.

(22m 6s):
Coleen could have been raped and stabbed and brought into the woods and she could have been still alive at the time of that second rape. We just don’t know at the very least to you’ve heard prior defenses with the abuse of a corpse, right? They could have brought charges for that. If in fact she was dead at the time. For some reason, they didn’t really pursue a penalty, I guess, for that portion of it, Phillip was sentenced to 25 years for murder and 40 years. And one day for rape and murder, the sentences were to be served concurrently. Basically Philip would be in jail until he is 54 years old, 2052.

(22m 50s):
He didn’t get life. He got like 40 years and after 40 years, he will be eligible for parole, which must be extremely upsetting for calling Richard’s family. Because one day they’re going to have to go to a parole hearing for Philip Chism. The judge David Lowie called the crime well brutal and senseless. Here’s some audio from the court case from the judge. Well Coleen’s mother waited for her loving daughter. The defendant violently raped, Coleen riffs, viciously, brutally, and senselessly attacked Pauline in the girl’s bathroom, just feet from the classroom where she was in her second year of living her dream of being a teacher.

(23m 36s):
When the defendant was finished in the bathroom, he put Coleen Richler inside or recycled. Then we alter to the woods and pulled up her shirt. The thereafter, he spread her legs inserted a large tree branch inside calling Richard was found dead hours later after a frantic search by law enforcement, the jury found to a moral certainty that the defendant killed Colleen Rhett, sir. And that he was permanently responsible for her murder. Phillip’s mom, Diana issued a brief statement, quote words, cannot express the amount of pain and sorrow. These past two and a half years have been.

(24m 19s):
However, there is no one who has suffered more than the Ritz or family, my most esteem, prayers, and humble respect to them. And humble respect is with them today as they continue their journey to heal and cool. So this was very thoughtful of Diana. Obviously she shocked her son did this, and she’s also extremely sorrowful of what her son did to this family. Yeah. I feel like we never talk about a serial killers or a killer’s family.

(24m 59s):
Like how upset they must be because they’re flesh and blood committed this awful crime yet. They love that child, but they have to deal with all the grief and the embarrassment and the humiliation and the sorrow for another family as well. The rest of the family was devastated at the sentencing and we have some audio from the family right here. We will honor her legacy and be your voice during the continued judicial process we never gave up and neither will we, we will not allow Coleen’s death to define how she’s remembered Holly’s favorites, quotes.

(25m 40s):
Was there something good in every day to celebrate our love for her? And in recognition of the many lives Holly touched and continues to influence. Despite the immense loss, we are forced to endure. We will carry on and do our very best to find the good in every day. Phillip stayed in the same juvenile detention center in Worcester, where he stayed since his trial, until he turned 18 years old, then he was transferred to a state prison. And I want to talk a little bit about the time that Philip spent in juvenile detention before his trial. All right, this part is shocking. I’m not this. This is so shocking to me that he committed this crime.

(26m 21s):
And then before the trial, this happened in case he’s going to talk about it during his incarceration, where Phillip was being held before his trial at the Dorchester department of youth services facility on June 2nd, 2014, Phillip was sitting in the facilities main room. He was there because he had refused to go to classes. There was a rule that he was to sit at the table closest to his room, but instead he was sitting at a table so he could get a clear view of a hallway behind a female employee. This 29 year old woman walked down the hallway and entered the bathroom.

(27m 5s):
The other staff member was distracted. So Philip got up, got in a crouch position to go down the hall so that staff member wouldn’t see him. It also took off his sandals as to not make any noise. Philip was armed with a sharp pencil and opened the locker room door where this woman was in the bathroom. As the woman came out of the bathroom, fill it, put both hands around her neck and began strangling her and pushed her violently against a cinder block wall. The victim couldn’t scream, but she managed to pull his right arm down. And then he punched her in the face and had she got out of scream and staffers ran into restrain fella.

(27m 53s):
The victim had a scratch on her back and a ripped shirt from the pencil, bruises on her face, jaw and head Chisholm was Ben charged with attempted murder by strangulation assault, with intent to murder kidnapping, and two counts of battery and assault. It seems like he can’t control himself at all, but at the same time, he’ll take any opportunity. I can to get a woman alone. And within a minute he had like punched her in the face and was strangling her and stuff like this guy is an animal. He is terrifying and he’s a child. Can you imagine what he would have been like as an adult now?

(28m 36s):
Hopefully he never sees the light of day. Again. He’s not going to stop. Like all I can picture is him crouching with a pencil. I don’t know to me, this story is beyond terrifying. This kid is terrifying. So as a result in January of 2017, when he turned 18, he went to a maximum security prison in Lancaster mass, the Boston red Sox had a moment of silence for Coleen before game one of the world series that year. And what year was that? Casey? 2013 world series champs. As a matter of fact, yeah. Obviously Coleen Ritter touched a lot of people, friends and family of Colleen have created a scholarship for students who want to make a career in education.

(29m 25s):
Coleen was a mentor. She chairs your family and friends, coworkers, and students. The facts are that she was trying to help fill up moments before he brutally raped and murdered her. And the real question is why. And there’s no satisfying to that question. Thank you for listening to episode 39. We’re an episode 39 Casey of murder ethic and let us know your thoughts and what you think about this case and what do you think his motives are? And, and what do you think he would be doing if he was out today? So feel free to email and give our podcast a call.

(30m 12s):
We really want to play your messages at the end of our podcast. And the phone number is one, two Oh seven, 288 one three. Thanks guys. Bye bye. Subscribe where you are listening now. So you will never miss an episode of murderer ethic. Follow me on Instagram at murderer ethic, podcast or Twitter at murderer ethic B PC, please rate murdering five stars in iTunes and leave a review. The best ones will be read on the podcast. All sources are listed on the murderer effect.

(30m 52s):
Webpage, thank you for listening until next time we’ll be executing podcasts. One crime at a time. I am what you call the person’s name because I project myself. People think they get by then all of a sudden when they wake up, it’s too late, they already had to stop sign. That’s a dead stop.

(31m 45s):
Thanks again for listening to true crime by Indy drop in. If you would like your show featured, reach out to us at Indy drop-in on all social media or go to See you next time.