During a hearing in Salem Superior Court on Friday, lawyers for Diana’s son played a motion to suppress other evidence and his confession. In the recorded interview, Diana’s son, Chism, showed a mix of hesitation and eagerness, veering between seeking help and providing assistance.
She was asked if she needed a lawyer. Zuk, describing her past work for the protective services of the state of Tennessee, told other investigators, “I know a lot about getting people’s rights screwed up.”
Ever since she started attending Danvers High School earlier that year, she mentioned that he had encountered a problem only once, and proudly spoke about her son’s passion for soccer and his participation in honors-level classes.
“This is what I can tell you,” Diana Chism said. “He goes to school, he goes to soccer and he comes home.”.
“Is he being detained? Did he cause harm to someone?” She inquired. Subsequently, she expressed her awareness when Zuk brought up the fact that her son was at the police station. Then, upon Zuk mentioning that her son was at the station, she affirmed her knowledge.
As a mother, she continued, “Is it a first-year instructor? Oh, dear, I’m going to faint. Please refrain from informing me about someone’s demise.” You can’t help but wonder, as a parent, “who would he cause harm to?”.
She thought it was his Spanish instructor. “He doesn’t appreciate his Spanish instructor,” she mentioned during the interview.
Investigators suspect that Chism committed the murder when Ritzer was killed, between the period after school ended at 1:50 p.M. And before soccer practice began. During this time, she acknowledged that she had no knowledge of Chism’s activities in the preceding weeks.
She then retreated, expressing that she could “retrieve information from him.” “However, I am also worried about my son,” she informed the officers, “I am currently feeling overwhelmed and disorganized.”
She confessed, “I acknowledge that he has the ability to suddenly lose control.” “He has the capacity for such behavior,” she stated. Her son might have lost control. She mentioned that her family had a background of mental illness. During his time in 7th grade, her son had struck another child in the face. “As a mother, you simply observe certain indications,” she remarked.
“As a juvenile, my son has the legal right to representation,” Zuk informed Diana Chism, “I just want to say this.” She pulled back once again.
“We’re simply searching for this lady, and we’re seeking the truth,” Zuk informed her.
Lawyers are arguing that Philip Chism’s rights were violated by the police, as they seek the truth in their search. They are requesting a judge from the Superior Court in Salem to exclude certain evidence against him.
“Miranda” rights were read to him with a delay, and Ritzer was already dead before anyone knew. The police conducted a search for him after finding him on the side of Route 1, including a pat-frisk, citing several grounds. Among the evidence they want to present to the judge is the alleged confession by Chism and a blood-stained box cutter they found to toss.
Diana also did not fully advise Chism to understand her role as a juvenile justice advisor under the state’s laws.
A proceeding on that request commenced Friday in Salem Superior Court. It will continue next Friday.
During the evening of October 22, 2013, when two individuals were reported as not being present – Chism, who was 14 years old at the time and from Danvers, and Ritzer, who was 24 years old and from Andover – a succession of law enforcement officers testified to provide an account of the events. Chism remained quiet while positioned between two out of his three legal representatives.
Following his apprehension, he was detained at the establishment where he attempted to harm a female staff member from the Department of Youth Services in Suffolk County. He has entered a plea of not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting and killing Ritzer, along with allegations of theft, supposedly taking some of her possessions such as her identification and payment cards, as well as a piece of undergarment.
At the police station, his backpack was being inspected, followed by a pat-down search, questioning, and the violation of his rights by the police. River Ipswich, near Route 1, was walking along when Chism noticed Patrolman Hovey Neal from Topsfield Police Department. Lawyers argue that this moment was significant for Chism.
Joy, followed by worry.
The individual he apprehended was of greater height than the law enforcement officer and appeared to be of a more advanced age. Hovey, who had become aware of Chism’s disappearance via social media, a reverse 911 call, and during roll call, had no inkling that he had just come across the teenager.
Chism did not promptly disclose his identity.
“Where are you heading?” Hovey inquired.
“Nowhere,” Chism replied.
“From where are you arriving?”
“Tennessee,” he stated.
Chism gazed directly forward, avoiding eye contact, “as if I didn’t exist,” remarked Hovey.
Hovey expressed, “I became worried about my well-being.” Chism had previously refuted possessing an identification. With a two-inch-long solid item in his hand, he performed a pat-down search on Chism and discovered something that could have been a driver’s license or identification card in one pocket. Testifying that it was dark and that he was momentarily alone, Hovey stated that he was concerned for his own safety.
He awaited support from the fellow officer on duty in the town that evening, Joseph DeBernardo.
DeBernardo noticed the cinch backpack.
“What’s inside the backpack?” Chism was inquired.
“Emergency equipment,” the teenager replied, still evading eye contact.
Colleen Ritzer, a woman whose identity was still unknown to them, noticed a driver’s license that belonged to him in his pockets. The officers requested him to remove the contents of his pockets.
Chism informed the officers of his identity.
“I was thrilled,” Hovey stated. “I was going to reunite a 14-year-old boy with his parents.”
Chism asserted that he had discovered them in a vehicle stationed at a Stop and Shop. They were faced with a possible criminal incident, as Chism had a female’s driver’s license and credit cards in his possession. However, Hovey and DeBernardo were also troubled.
The Topsfield station officers provided a blanket to the teenager, who was dressed in shorts and trembling. According to the officers, he was not restrained with handcuffs when they apprehended him.
At the station, authorities examined the backpack and inquired Chism if there was anything that could potentially harm them.
“Indeed,” Chism responded.
Inside the backpack, there was a box cutter that appeared to be stained with blood. Upon searching the wallet, authorities discovered a woman’s undergarments, handbag, and a wallet.
“Whose blood does this belong to?” Hovey inquired.
“The young lady’s,” Chism replied.
Attorney John Osler, who represents Chism, inquired whether law enforcement would have detained any other individual strolling along Route 1.
“Do you approach and interrogate every individual who walks along that road in Topsfield?” Inquired Osler.
Hovey stated that it is dim and vehicles frequently accelerate at that tardy time, expressing agreement that they would respond to a report regarding the matter.
Osler additionally suggested that Chism was taken into custody as soon as the authorities approached, triggering the need to notify him about his entitlements.
“You weren’t planning to allow him to leave,” proposed Osler.
“As he was a 14-year-old kid,” Hovey replied.
The defense is requesting the sealing of the interrogation.
If set free, the potential jurors in Essex County would be compromised and is considered “provocative,” which Chism’s attorneys claim is a recording of Chism’s questioning that Lowy is also currently considering a request by Chism’s attorneys to secure, or close.
Lawyers for The Boston Globe, The Salem News, and The Eagle-Tribune filed motions opposing the impoundment of evidence in the Chism trial, arguing that the information is “critical” to the public’s understanding of the case.
Julie Manganis, the reporter assigned to cover legal proceedings, can be contacted at 978-338-2521, through email at jmanganis@salemnews.Com, or via Twitter @SNJulieManganis.