Slain Mass. Teacher’s Family Decries SJC Decision

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BOSTON (AP) - The parents of a slain Danvers High School math teacher say they feel a sense of "betrayal and anguish" over a recent court decision that ruled it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to prison without the possibility of parole.

Twenty-four-year old Colleen Ritzer was found slain behind the school in October. One of her former students, 14-year-old Philip Chism, faces murder and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last month that juveniles under age 18 convicted of first-degree murder should be given the chance of parole in part because their brains are not fully developed.

The Ritzers in their statement issued Friday said "Paroling such violent offenders would be more cruel and unusual punishment to victims' families and loved ones."

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