Salem trial of teenager charged in teacher’s death to begin

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SALEM, Mass. (AP) — Lawyers in the trial of a Massachusetts teenager accused of killing his high school math teacher plan to make opening statements Monday.

Philip Chism is charged in the October 2013 rape and slaying of Colleen Ritzer. The body of the 24-year-old teacher at Danvers High School, north of Boston, was found near the school. Her throat had been slit.

Chism was 14 at the time. Now 16, he is being tried as an adult in Essex Superior Court in Salem.

Jury selection was suspended several weeks while the judge considered Chism’s mental competency before finding the teenager competent to understand the court proceedings and assist with his defense.

Chism’s lawyers have suggested they will use a mental health defense and argue he isn’t criminally responsible for the teacher’s death.

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