MILFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A teenager charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a Connecticut high school student made his first public court appearance Friday.
The 16-year-old defendant, Christopher Plaskon, faced a judge in Milford Superior Court.
A shoeless Plaskon showed no visible emotion during the hearing and greeted his uncle, Paul Healy, who acted as official guardian for the proceeding, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.
Plaskon’s parents remain in seclusion. Attorney Richard Meehan said they wanted to attend the hearing, but he recommended against it because he believed it would be too difficult.
“All their hearts are broken,” Meehan said, referring to Plaskon’s family. “I think the word numb is probably the best word I could use to describe what these people are going through.”
During Friday’s court hearing, a judge said Plaskon, who has been undergoing psychiatric evaluation since the killing, will be sent to the Manson Youth Institution, where Meehan asked that he be placed at a hospital under a suicide watch.
“Manson Youth is designated as a facility for individuals between the ages of 14 and 21, so Christopher is in the right place and he’s in a medical facility there,” defense attorney Ed Gavin said.
Meehan said his client displays signs of an active psychosis.
“I do believe he’s sick,” Meehan said. “He would not have had the emergency commitment if there wasn’t some very serious element there that certainly occasioned him being placed on this suicide watch.”
Plaskon will not enter a plea until after a probable cause hearing, which is scheduled for June 4.
Plaskon is accused of fatally stabbing 16-year-old Maren Sanchez in a stairwell of Jonathan Law High School just hours before she was to attend her junior prom with her boyfriend last Friday. According to a court document, when a police officer asked what happened, Plaskon said, “I did it, just arrest me.”
Police have been investigating whether the attack was related to Sanchez’s refusal to be Plaskon’s prom date.
“I think what hits closest to home for everyone is that this happened inside of a school, and happened to an individual as young and promising as this victim,” State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor said.
Plaskon, who will turn 17 at the end of May, is charged as an adult in the attack. He as arraigned Tuesday at a medical facility. Bail was set at $3 million.
If convicted at trial, Plaskon could get as much a 60 years in prison, Young reported.
Plaskon’s family issued a statement Tuesday, saying it joins the community in mourning the loss of life as it struggles to understand what led to the crime.
“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.”
A wake for Sanchez on Thursday drew a large turnout. She will be buried in a private ceremony on Friday.
A memorial fund has also been set up in Sanchez’s name to honor her life.
Plaskon has a brother who also attends Jonathan Law High. They attorney said the family is unsure if he’ll ever be able to go back to the school, Young reported.
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