MILFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The teenage boy accused in the stabbing death of his classmate on the day of their prom in Milford, Conn., has been charged as an adult.
Christopher Plaskon, 16, was charged with murder in connection with last Friday’s stabbing death of Maren Sanchez, also 16. Bail has been set at $3 million, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
Plaskon is accused of fatally stabbing Sanchez in a stairwell of Jonathan Law High School just hours before she was to attend her junior prom with her boyfriend.
According to a court document, when a police officer asked what happened, Plaskon said, “I did it, just arrest me.”
Milford police Officer James Kiely arrested Plaskon in the principal’s office at the school, where a court document said he was found with bloody hands and clothing.
The court document also said there were witnesses to the stabbing. One witness tried to pull Plaskon off Sanchez but couldn’t. Another saw him drop the bloody knife on the floor of the hallway, according to the document.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, heartbroken students returned to class Tuesday for the first time since Sanchez was killed last week.
Memorial @ Jon Law HS as Students Return After Prom Night Murder. pic.twitter.com/LR5rhDXudo
— Lou Young (@LouYoungNY) April 29, 2014
“It’s just a really painful loss,” said student Emily Carter, who stopped at a makeshift memorial outside the school Tuesday morning before going inside.
“I want to try to live my life to honor her,” Carter said. “She would want everyone to be happy. I’m trying my hardest.”
As they returned to the familiar ground that will never again be the same, the students at the school continued to grieve over the murder Friday as one of their classmates was charged.
“My mouth was on the ground,” said classmate Kylie Booth. “I couldn’t believe that somebody would do that to her, because she didn’t have any enemies.”
While authorities have not specified a motive, many believe the motive was Sanchez’s refusal to go to prom with Plaskon.
“All of this was over a ‘no’ to prom,” said classmate Dakota Callaghan. “Nobody can believe this happened.”
Plaskon has been held as a juvenile at a local hospital, but the case was transferred to adult court around 2 p.m. Plaskon will remain under psychiatric care while the case proceeds.
If convicted he could be sentenced to 25 to 60 years in prison.
No one answered the door at the suspect’s home when CBS 2’s Young stopped by. Plaskon lives in a luxury condominium on the Long Island sound.
But Plaskon’s family said Tuesday they join the community mourning the loss of the victim as they struggle to understand what led to the tragedy.
“Words can only fall short in conveying the depth and breadth of the raw sadness we are left with by this unimaginable tragedy,” the statement said. “Our hearts are forever broken as we, like you, struggle to understand.”
The Plaskons also said they offered deepest sympathies to the Sanchez family.
“Please know that you are forever in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers,” the statement said. “We join with the entire Milford community to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of this most vibrant and exceptional young woman.”
They also thanked extended family, friends and neighbors for reaching out to them in what they called their “darkest hour.”
On Monday night, nearly 2,000 people gathered on the school’s football field and paid tribute to Sanchez, saying she lived a remarkable life and imploring others to learn from her example.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called Sanchez a star, saying she was inclusive, kind, talented and giving. He said she accomplished so much in a short period of time and affected so many.
“She was someone who moved people,” Malloy said. “If you look at this crowd, you might even imagine she moved mountains.”
The vigil featured the release of purple balloons, Sanchez’s favorite color, and songs in her memory.
“She’s a beautiful, genuine, loving girl — beautiful inside and out,” said classmate Kasadi Xavier. “We’re going to miss her.”
The memorial started with a large rock spray-painted purple, with her first name, birth date and a heart painted in white. It grew to include flowers, stuffed animals, balloons, candles and notes. Purple ribbons were tied around trees by the school. People also were dressed in purple as they visited the site.
Sanchez was a member of the National Honor Society who was active in drama and other school activities. Police said they’re investigating whether the motive was Sanchez’s refusal to be Plaskon’s prom date.
Michael Mele, the school’s drama director, said Sanchez was enthusiastic and upbeat with an infectious smile. She was involved in a show “Little Shop of Horrors” that will now open Friday dedicated to her memory.
“She was just, was the epitome of a good kid,” Mele said. “She’s one of those kids you want every kid to be like her.”
Rev. Cynthia Knapp of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church said Sanchez was kind and compassionate to everyone as well as talented and had a contagious laugh. She urged the crowd to honor Sanchez’s memory by responding with forgiveness and compassion.
“Chris was her friend and I’m sure she already has forgiven him,” she said. “Give us the courage to do the same.”
The dance was postponed last week, but when it does happen, Sanchez will be the honorary prom queen.
“She deserves it,” Carter said. “She probably would have been prom queen anyway.”
A wake for Sanchez is scheduled for Thursday. There will not be a funeral service, and burial will be private.
A memorial fund has also been set up in Sanchez’s name to honor her life.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- Tensions High From The Start As Clinton, Sanders Slug It Out In Democratic Debate
- Jury Delivers Guilty Verdict In Trial Of Rookie NYPD Officer Who Fatally Shot Akai Gurley
- Borough President Adams Calls For Vigilance As NYPD Releases New Footage In Crown Heights Stabbing
- NY Man Arrested After Waving Gun-Like Object Behind Live Television Reporter
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)