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[February 25, 2014]
Evidence sealed in murder of Danvers teacher [Boston Herald :: ]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 25--What if any disturbing evidence investigators recovered from accused teen killer Philip Chism's smashed Samsung smartphone to bolster their charges he raped and murdered Danvers High math teacher Colleen Ritzer -- and possibly memorialized the horror in pictures -- may not be disclosed until the case goes to trial.
A search warrant executed on the phone Jan. 24 was returned yesterday to Salem Superior Court referencing "The Cellebrite physical extraction of information from mobile cellular telephone," but the inventory of what may have been found was left blank with a line drawn through it.
Cellebrite is an Israel-based company with offices in New Jersey that conducts forensic data extraction.
"A search of the phone was conducted and that search is complete. I don't think any conclusions can be drawn about whether anything was found or wasn't found," said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
"The legal obligation is just to report back to the court that the search was complete," she said, "and that's what we did." State police detective Steven J. Buccheri applied for the warrant last month, writing in his affidavit in support of a search for both stored and transmitted data on Chism's cellphone, "It is not unusual for individuals involved in homicides, particularly sexually violent homicides, to memorialize their victims' deaths through photographic, audio and/or video media for further humiliation of the victim or later viewing, for guilt relief or enjoyment." Buccheri said Chism told police following his capture he had destroyed his phone so he couldn't be tracked by GPS, but Buccheri wrote he suspected Chism "destroyed the phone in order to hid (sic) incriminating evidence contained on it, including but not limited to evidence of his planning, motive and any memorialization of his crime." Chism, 15, remains held without bail for allegedly slitting the 24-year-old Ritzer's throat in a student bathroom at Danvers High last October and twice raping her. Prosecutors said Chism wheeled Ritzer into nearby woods in a recycling bin and left her half-naked, sexually "posed" body in a pile of leaves.
Chism is not due back in court until April 7 for a status hearing on his case. No trial date has been set.
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