By Jon Keller


BOSTON (CBS) – It is your worst nightmare – a beloved friend or family member, brutally murdered in a random act of inexplicable violence.

And there’s little we can say to comfort the loved ones of Colleen Ritzer other than we are horrified and heartbroken by what happened to her.

In theory, her killer, who was 14 when he committed the crime, could be eligible for parole by age 31. We can only hope that Judge David Lowy exercises his authority to effectively put him behind bars for life by imposing concurrent sentences.

The Ritzer family deserves justice and relief from the prospect of having to relive their agony years from now in a possible parole process.

Colleen Ritzer's family after the verdict, Dec. 15, 2015. (WBZ-TV)

Colleen Ritzer’s family after the verdict, Dec. 15, 2015. (WBZ-TV)

I don’t have much interest right now in trying to understand what compelled this murderer to descend into such savagery. The prison psychologists can work on that while the rest of us direct our understanding and compassion toward the victim’s survivors.

But the case does leave unanswered questions: could this criminal’s derangement have been better identified and treated to neutralize the threat he posed? What did his adult overseers and peers know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it? What more can we do to protect the innocent from the predators among us?

The Ritzer family has established a scholarship in Colleen’s memory for high school seniors from Andover and Danvers High pursuing a career in teaching.

Go to colleenritzerscholarship.com to learn more, donate, and perhaps help something good come out of one of our community’s most evil crimes ever.

Jon Keller

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