BOSTON (Reuters) - The Massachusetts teenager charged in the murder of a 24-year-old math teacher at his high school used a box cutter to stab the woman, then disposed of her body and went to the movies, local media reported on Thursday.
Philip Chism, 14, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the charge of murdering Colleen Ritzer, whose body was found in the woods behind his high school in Danvers, Massachusetts, some 20 miles north of Boston.
Chism apparently used a box cutter to stab and cut Ritzer in a second-floor bathroom of the school, the Boston Globe reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement official.
After dumping the teacher’s body, Chism went to buy a ticket for a 4:30 p.m. screening of the Woody Allen film “Blue Jasmine,” a law enforcement source told the Boston Herald.
A spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett declined to comment on any details of the case.
Ritzer’s family released a statement on Thursday thanking the public for its support, which included a moment of silence at the first game of the World Series in Boston’s Fenway Park.
“The Ritzer Family is most grateful for the outpouring of support during this very difficult time,” the statement said, adding that funeral arrangements would be released in the coming days.
The attack marked the second killing of a U.S. teacher by a student this week, following an incident in Nevada in which a 12-year-old boy armed with a handgun shot dead a teacher and wounded two schoolmates before turning the gun on himself.
Police in Danvers began investigating the incident after neither Chism nor Ritzer returned to their homes after school on Tuesday. They had initially issued a missing child report for Chism.
When a search for Ritzer turned up blood in the bathroom at Danvers High School late Tuesday, the police began a criminal investigation. Chism was found walking along a highway a few miles from the school shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
Prosecutors charged Chism as an adult, which allowed them to release his name and could mean he would potentially face a longer sentence in an adult prison rather than a juvenile facility if he is convicted.
Chism, who played on the junior varsity soccer team at Danvers High School, had recently moved to the New England town from Tennessee.
Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Andrew Hay and Gunna Dickson