The Milford teenager accused of stabbing and killing a fellow classmate appeared in a courtroom for the first time Friday.
Christopher Plaskon, 16, was arraigned as an adult in his hospital bed earlier in the week. Plaskon, who is charged with murder, made his first appearance in adult court on Friday.
Last week, he was a normal junior in high school. Friday, he was shoeless, wearing sweat pants, confined to handcuffs and flanked by police and lawyers.
"It's never easy given these types of circumstances," said state's attorney Kevin Lawlor. "But my job is to uphold the law of the state of Connecticut."
Lawlor said he will lead the case against Plaskon, who was a former track runner and football player.
According to police, Plaskon stabbed 16-year-old Maren Sanchez on Friday, April 25, in a stairwell of Jonathan Law High School.
He told them "I did it, just arrest me."
Sanchez was rushed to Bridgeport Hospital where she was pronounced dead from her injures. She was laid to rest around the same time of Plaskon's arraignment.
Plaskon has since been in St. Raphael's Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Police have not released a motive for the attack, but are looking into speculation that Plaskon was upset when Sanchez turned down his invitation to the prom.
Plaskon did not show any emotion in the courtroom Friday. Plaskon was joined by his uncle, the only member of his family present. It appeared that he said something in private to his nephew and Plaskon acknowledged him.
"The Plaskons are a very large family, a very large, extended family and getting lots of community support," said Richard Meehan, Plaskon's lawyer. "You've probably all seen the statement. We can't say it better than that, how deeply grieved they are for the loss of this life."
His lawyers told the judge Plaskon's parents have been in seclusion since stabbing. His attorneys said one of his parents wanted to come on Friday, but they told them not to because it would be too much to handle.
"I think the word numb is probably the best word I can describe what these people are going through," Meehan said. "It's certainly not something anyone expected in their lives to have happened."
It's unclear if Plaskon's parents have had a chance to see him since the incident. They will be able to visit him during the pre-trial process.
The suspect's lawyers said his family was heartbroken and extended their condolences to Sanchez's family.
"We know they've suffered a tremendous loss, and thoughts and prayers are with the Sanchez family," they said in a statement.
One of the Milford detectives working the case also sat in on Friday's court appearance. Lawlor said the victim's family did not come.
"I think this is about as difficult a day that a family could endure," Lawlor said.
Plaskon was also placed on suicide watch, and that means an official will have direct eye contact with him 24 hours a day to make sure he doesn't try to hurt himself, according to court officials.
Plaskon did not enter a plea and his probable cause hearing was set for June 4 at 10 a.m. His bond was set at $3,000,000.
Doctor explains symptoms of active Psychosis
Plaskon's attorneys said he has a case of active Psychosis.
"Yes, I do believe he's sick," Meehan said.
According to medical experts, a Psychosis condition can range from having abnormal thinking and perceptions to delusions and hallucinations. The attorneys, who requested Plaskon be committed right after his arrest, said he's now being medicated.
"He certainly understands that he's charged with murder. He understands who we are," Meehan said.
"I don't know. Again we don't have the opportunity at this point to make any determinations along those lines," Lawlor said when asked about Plaskon's sickness.
Dr. Raveen Mehendru at Hartford Hospital said with active Psychosis, the warning signs are sometimes slow to develop.
"People not really noticing a major change because it's coming so slowly, that it's being taken as part of the normal, gradual deterioration. It can happen under acute stress," Mehendru said.
If Plaskon showed any symptoms before-hand, Mehendru said friends and family would've noticed the 16-year-old develop hallucinations and delusions, which are the most common symptoms.
"It's a state where there's a breach with reality," Mehendru said.
Mehendru said Plaskon's condition may have changed dramatically in just those last seven days.
"Depends on what's the nature of the stress and if the action has relieved the stress, enhanced the psychotic symptoms, or if it has come somewhat under control," Mehendru said.
Eyewitness News did ask if active Psychosis was something that could be cured. Mehendru said it really depends on the patient and how far gone he or she is without evaluating him directly, he couldn't say. It'll be up to the doctors at Manson Youth Institute where Plaskon is being treated to determine.
Students attend Milford teen suspect's arraignment
Very few students came to the proceedings. However, town residents still shocked by the crime, felt they had to come.
"We're all connected together somehow and it really brings Milford together as a town," one person told Eyewitness News.
Former high school students such as Jesse Abbots who was almost surprised when he saw the teenager in handcuffs.
"He's a child, he's a baby," Abbots said. "You know had his whole life ahead of him, sad to see this happen. (It's) unfortunate to see that."
Some students told Eyewitness News they were torn. They said they want justice for Sanchez, but they also understand that the family of Plaskon is grieving too.
In some ways, people told Eyewitness News the community has been brought together.
"It's a small town and we are all together," said former student Kerry Lepper.
"We are all connected somehow and it brings Milford together as a town," said former student Alyssa Kucsma.
The drama club at Jonathan Law High School said it planned to dedicate its play Friday night to Sanchez. Sanchez had a starring role. School officials said they are expecting a large crowd.
Family, friends pay respect to Milford stabbing victim
On Thursday, hundreds of family and friends remembered Sanchez during calling hours.
"She would have accomplished anything she wanted to do," said David Kristy, a family friend. "She was a 'go-getter' and never would leave anyone behind. She was the greatest person I ever met."
She was a class president for two years, an artist, an honors student, a musician, a photographer and a natural leader, according to her friends.
"I just think it's upsetting. It's really sad to lose a classmate you know well, went to school with everyday, saw in the hallways and don't see her anymore," said classmate Ally Maccio.
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