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Lawyer says stabbing suspect has signs of psychosis

MILFORD, Conn. — A 16-year-old charged in the fatal stabbing of a high school student on the day of the prom is showing signs of an active psychosis, his lawyer said Friday.

Christopher Plaskon, who made his first court appearance Friday, is charged with murder in the slaying of Maren Sanchez, a friend who was stabbed to death last week in a hallway at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.

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Plaskon showed no visible emotion during the brief hearing. He wore handcuffs and leg shackles and no shoes as he stood next to his lawyers and his uncle Paul Healy, who was appointed his guardian.

Plaskon was ordered to be transferred to the state’s Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire, where he will be placed in a hospital under suicide watch. He will not enter a plea until after a probable cause hearing, scheduled for June 4.

His lawyer, Richard Meehan, did not provide details of Plaskon’s condition, but said the boy understands he is charged with murder and that Meehan is his lawyer.

‘‘I do believe he’s sick,’’ Meehan said, noting Plaskon had been under an emergency commitment and will continue to receive psychiatric care. ‘‘Obviously what we don’t want to see is another tragedy on top of the one that has already taken place here. We want to make sure that this young man is appropriately maintained while we do our job.’’

The attack occurred April 25, hours before the school’s junior prom, and police have been investigating whether it was related to Sanchez’s refusal to be Plaskon’s prom date.

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Meehan said Plaskon’s parents wanted to attend the hearing, but he recommended against it because he believed it would be too difficult. He said they are in seclusion.

‘‘Their hearts are broken,’’ Meehan said, referring to Plaskon’s family. ‘‘The word numb is probably the best word I could use to describe what these people are going through’’

State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor decided Plaskon will be prosecuted as an adult, citing state law. Plaskon, who is being held on $3 million bond, faces up to 60 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 25 years if found guilty of murder, Lawlor said.

‘‘This case is being treated as seriously as one can be,’’ Lawlor said after the hearing. ‘‘I think what hits closest to home for everyone, particularly in this community, is that this happened inside of a school and it happened to an individual as young and as promising as this victim.’’

Sanchez, 16, was in the National Honor Society and was active in drama and other school activities. Governor Dannel P. Malloy, classmates, and others paid tribute to her Monday, and her wake on Thursday drew a large turnout.

A witness saw Plaskon on top of Sanchez during the attack and tried unsuccessfully to pull him away, and another saw him discard a bloody knife, according to a police affidavit. Plaskon, his clothes bloody, was taken to the principal’s office, where an officer arrived and asked what happened. ‘‘I did it; just arrest me,’’ Plaskon replied, according to the officer.

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