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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.

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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.

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.

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

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

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Bill Maher dances on David Koch’s grave: ‘I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful’

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher celebrated the death of right-wing billionaire David Koch, who died of prostate cancer.

"I guess I'm going to have to reevaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer," Maher said.

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HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher ripped Donald Trump on Friday.

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called for a boycott of Maher's show this week.

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Rachel Maddow reveals 9 major reasons so many Democrats are running against Trump in 2020

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The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC listed nine major reasons Democrats are running to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.

"As we close in on the third round of Democratic presidential primary debates, the acute angle of the funnel that the candidates are going through right now is starting to pinch a little bit," Maddow noted.

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