No plea agreement reached in Plaskon murder case
No deals were reached Thursday in the case against Christopher Plaskon, the teenager charged with stabbing to death fellow classmate Maren Sanchez in April 2014 at Jonathan Law High School.
Plaskon’s attorney, Edward Gavin, met with State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor and Judge John Ronan in chambers Thursday morning to discuss the case, specifically whether the two sides could reach a plea agreement or whether the case will move to trial.
Once in public session in the courtroom at Milford Superior Court, Judge Ronan announced that an agreement “was not accomplished” and that “work needs to be done on both sides.”
Family, friends and media filled the courtroom in anticipation of a decision. But Ronan said the case will be continued to Feb. 23.
Outside the courthouse, Gavin talked to reporters, saying, “We had discussion regarding the case. We’re going to continue our discussion. We’ll come back in February and report to Judge Ronan.”
Discussions were fruitful, he said, but added that he would not go into detail about the talks.
“We will see if there’s common ground, and if not the case will proceed to trial,” Gavin said.
At Plaskon’s previous court appearance in December, his attorneys were given medical reports from evaluations that the prosecution had requested, and Gavin said he would be spending considerable time reviewing the reports. Plaskon’s mental health at the time of the murder is key, he said, telling reporters on Thursday that Plaskon’s mental health “is a factor, if not the primary factor.”
State’s Attorney Lawlor reiterated that discussions need to continue. He said a “potential resolution” was discussed Thursday but there was no agreement.
Last month, Judge Frank Iannotti said if a plea agreement is not forthcoming, then a time frame will be set soon for a trial, which he said would probably take place in late March or April and likely take eight to 10 trial days.
Plaskon has pled not guilty to a charge of murder, and his lawyers said in the past that they expected the plea would be based on one of three forms of an insanity plea.
If the case goes to trial, it will be presented to a three-judge panel, rather than a traditional jury, because Plaskon’s lawyers said they think judges will be better equipped to understand issues surrounding mental illness.
Sources said Plaskon stabbed Maren in a stairwell at Jonathan Law on the morning of April 25, 2014, because she was not going to the prom with him. There have been subsequent reports that Plaskon heard voices, and that he had been struggling with mental health issues.
An autopsy report states that Maren died of stab wounds to the trunk and neck, and her death was ruled a homicide.
Plaskon, 18, is being held at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire on $3-million bond. Gavin said Plaskon is adjusting as well as he can at the facility, where he goes to classes and programs and shares living quarters with other inmates between the ages of 16 and 22.