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Massachusetts teen awaits sentence for gruesome murder of teacher

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A Massachusetts teenager found guilty of raping and murdering a math teacher at his suburban Boston high school in 2013 will learn on Friday how much of his life he will spend in state prison for his crimes.

Prosecutors have asked Essex County Superior Court Judge David Lowy to sentence 17-year-old Philip Chism to 50 years in state prison for the murder of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer, whose body was found dumped behind Danvers High School.

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Chism, was a 14-year-old freshman who had just moved from Tennessee, when he killed Ritzer, cutting her throat with a boxcutter and using a recycling bin to dump her body behind the school.

Despite his youth, he was tried as an adult, though Massachusetts laws do not allow him to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, the state’s normal punishment for first-degree murder.

Prosecutors in a court filing on Thursday asked Lowy to sentence Chism to 25 years for murder, with a subsequent 25-year sentence for rape. That would leave him in prison until the age of 64.

Hours after murdering Ritzer, who had stayed late to provide students with extra help, Chism was found wandering along a state highway carrying a bag that contained Ritzer’s identification and the box cutter he had used.

Defense attorneys did not deny that Chism had carried out the attack, but contended he was not criminally responsible for his actions due to a long-un diagnosed severe mental illness that was aggravated by the move.

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The trial was occasionally delayed by Chism, who was once observed beating his head on a floor and at another point refused to return to the courtroom after a break, telling his lawyer he was “about to explode.”

Defense witnesses described Chism as a quiet and talented soccer player who was under emotional strain after relocating with his mother following his parents’ divorce.

The jury found him guilty after nine hours of deliberations at a courthouse in Salem, Massachusetts.

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(Reporting by Ted Siefer; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Alistair Bell)


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SARS-like virus spreads in China — with nearly 140 new cases

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A mysterious SARS-like virus has killed a third person and spread around China -- including to Beijing -- authorities said Monday, fuelling fears of a major outbreak as millions begin travelling for the Lunar New Year in humanity's biggest migration.

The new coronavirus strain, first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Wuhan has 11 million inhabitants and serves as a major transport hub, including during the annual Lunar New Year holiday which begins later this week and sees hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel across the country to visit family.

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JPMorgan Chase buys new Paris building as they prepare to move jobs out of London following Brexit

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US bank JPMorgan Chase on Sunday said it had purchased a new building in the heart of Paris capable of holding 450 people, the latest step in its plans to move out of London following Brexit.

The newcomers will join the 260 employees already working in the French capital, the bank said in a statement.

"After multiple government reforms and given the intrinsic nature of Parisian infrastructure, this is the ideal time to invest here and for more of our staff to settle here," said Kyril Courboin, the bank's managing director in France.

The move "will give the bank the opportunity to pursue growth in France, in line with its strategy to continue to serve its European clients seamlessly from the continent's major cities, including Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin," the statement added.

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Ken Starr is an awful choice for Trump’s legal team because he’ll look like a hypocrite: Former federal prosecutor

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President Donald Trump has a severe hypocrisy problem, and it has extended to his legal team. In a CNN explainer answering legal questions from viewers, former state and federal prosecutor Eli Honig explained that the choice of Ken Starr for Trump's legal team was a terrible idea.

Trump has chosen lawyers that are like a Fox News legal discussion panel. Pat Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Wray, Pam Bondi and Jay Sekulow are all key people Trump has called on to defend him. But one person stands out, Honig explained. Ken Starr.

"He may emerge as a symbol of hypocrisy," Honig said. "He was the independent counsel who pursued Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Ken Starr turned over Heaven and Earth in his investigation of Bill Clinton. He talked to everyone who ever had known Monica Lewinsky, ex-boyfriends, teachers, window washers. And here he's going to say you shouldn't be hearing from primary witnesses?"

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