Trigger Word


Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

BLOG POST #74: Hold on tight and be forewarned, this week the research topic is gruesome.

Security video showed the young high school math teacher leave her classroom and innocently walked down the hall to a female restroom.

The video also showed a 14-year-old male student leave the same classroom behind the teacher, pull his hoody onto his head and follow her into the restroom.

The student hit the teacher which rendered her unconscious and then used a box cutter to stab her sixteen times in the neck and then slit her throat. He denied sexually abusing her; however the autopsy proved he did.

Twelve minutes after the student entered the restroom, he exited wearing a ski mask. Security video showed him return with a recycling receptacle.

Twenty-seven minutes after the young teacher entered the restroom; her body was inside the recycling receptacle being wheeled outside the school. Still wearing the ski mask, the student dragged the receptacle to a wooded area behind the school.

After disposing of the teacher’s body, the teen used her credit card to attend a movie and purchase fast food.

The authorities received two seemingly unrelated calls for missing people that day. At first, the officers who found the missing teen were not aware the two missing people cases were connected. When the teen’s backpack was searched and the items found were bloody, they suspected the teen had been involved in a crime.

The teen’s mother was present for a portion of the interrogation; the teen didn’t want his mother in the room. During the interrogation, the teen admitted to killing his teacher. He sketched a diagram of where on her body he stabbed her and a map of where he’d disposed of her body.

The teen was arrested and sent to a youth services detention facility. Because of his age, there were concerns about whether the teen had been properly Mirandized. His case went to trial and the 14-year-old was found guilty of First Degree Murder, Rape, and Armed Robbery.

Here’s something I’ve not seen before in the course of my research: Prior to the sentencing hearing the defense attorney requested the judge restrict the wearing of pink clothing (the victim’s favorite color) to only her family. She felt the courtroom was no place for displays of sentiment or emotion. The District Attorney disagreed. The judge ruled pink could be worn by anyone except government officials, members of the district attorney’s office and police officers.

The boy was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 25-years for the murder conviction (the most possible for someone his age) and 40-years each for the other two convictions, all to be served concurrently (at the same time).

The judge purposely set the sentences for the rape and armed robbery convictions for longer than the murder conviction so that his first opportunity for parole would be after 40-years rather than 25-years.

When the teen was asked why he killed his teacher, he said she had insulted him and used a ‘trigger word’. He never said what the ‘trigger word’ was.

Worth mentioning: While awaiting trial for the murder of his teacher, and while at the youth services detention facility the teen followed a female counselor into a restroom. He assaulted her by choking her and beating her face and head. The counselor survived the attack. At the time this research was shared, he’d not yet been to trial for the attempted murder of the female counselor.

It’s my firm belief that children with the capability to do what this student did, do exhibit warning signs either at home or in school or both. 

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!


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