Plaskon enters not guilty plea in prom-day murder

Milford, Ct.: Christopher Plaskon, the 17-year-old Milford boy accused of stabbing his classmate Maren Sanchez to death April 25 at Jonathan Law High School, plead not guilty to murder today in Milford Superior Court.

Plaskon also waived his right to a probable cause hearing and elected to have his case go before a three-judge panel rather than a jury of 12 people.

Plaskon’s uncle, Paul Healy, served as his guardian during today’s proceedings because Plaskon is under the age of 18.

The teenager wore an orange jumpsuit into the courtroom and his ankles were secured in cuffs.

He responded clearly to several questions from Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti, who asked him several times if he understood the implications of waiving the probable cause hearing and opting to be tried before a panel of judges.

“Yes your honor,” Plaskon said several times to the judge’s questions.

The Milford boy’s parents and siblings were in court today, ushered in by one of their son’s attorneys.

Attorney Richard Meehan spoke to reporters outside the courthouse after the plea was entered.

Meehan said he believes a trial before a panel of three judges is in his client’s best interests. Plaskon’s attorneys may focus the not-guilty plea on Plaskon’s mental health, and said a panel of judges is more likely to understand the dynamics of mental illness.

Inside the court room, Meehan told the judge that Plaskon is “on a variety of medications,” including anti-psychotic and anxiety medication.

But he said that Plaskon has been lucid and understands what is going on, and that Plaskon would be able to answer any questions from the judge.

Judge Iannotti, however, directed most of his questions about the family’s understanding of the pleas to Healy.

State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor presented two motions, one a request for a DNA sample from Plaskon and the other a request for fingerprints and palm prints from Plaskon. The judge approved those requests, and Milford police were expected to get those samples after the court hearing, before Plaskon was returned to the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire, where he is being held on $3 million bond.

Meehan described Plaskon to reporters as “a very sad, sorrowful youngster.”

He didn’t want to discuss the family, whether they have been to visit Plaskon, but simply said the “family is suffering.”

Lawlor didn’t have much to say about the defense’s decision to waive the probable cause hearing and choose a trial before a panel of judges.

“It was the defense’s decision,” Lawlor said. “We still have our job of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Following their initial investigation into the stabbing, Milford police filed a probable cause statement with the Milford Superior Court. In that document, police wrote that Plaskon's hands were bloody when he looked at a school police officer and said, “I did it. Just arrest me.”

Sources say that Plaskon stabbed Maren, whom one local clergy said was his friend, because she was not going to the prom with him.

An autopsy report states that Maren died of stab wounds to the trunk and neck, and the girl's death was ruled a homicide.

The police department's probable cause statement also says that a witness saw Plaskon on top of Maren “during the attack/murder and actually unsuccessfully tried to pull him away from the victim.”

Another witness told police he saw Plaskon discard a bloody knife onto a hallway floor shortly after he — the witness — removed Plaskon from the scene. That knife has been recovered.