Plaskon to undergo psychiatric evaluation next month

Christopher Plaskon, the 17-year-old Milford boy accused of killing classmate Maren Sanchez at Jonathan Law High School in April, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation next month to determine his mental capacity as the court case against him continues.

Plaskon was in court Thursday for the continuation of a pre-trial hearing. The hearings are part of a long process as the lawyers and prosecutor in the case gather their information and return for status reports. Plaskon won’t be back in court again until January as he undergoes the psychiatric evaluation.

Plaskon’s attorney, Richard Meehan, said a board certified child and adult psychiatrist will interview Plaskon in November. The psychiatrist also will interview Plaskon’s family and others who know him to compile a report about Plaskon’s mental health.

That report is expected to be presented to the court when the pre-trial hearing continues Jan. 21.

Several members of Plaskon’s family were in court today, his parents and a brother, plus his uncle Paul Healy, who has been representing Plaskon as his legal guardian during court proceedings.

Meehan said Plaskon is “doing better” and is not under any type of suicide watch at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire, where he is being held on $3 million bond.

Because the young man is still of high school age, he is being educated while at the facility. Attorney Edward Gavin said the institute has educational facilities, and that Plaskon goes to class five days a week.

Plaskon has pled not guilty to a charge of murder, and his lawyers have said they expect it will be based on one of three forms of an insanity plea, based on Plaskon’s mental status.

The case 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 say that Plaskon stabbed Maren in a stairwell at Jonathan Law on the morning of April 25 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 her death was ruled a homicide.

Anthony Bonadies, the attorney representing Maren’s father, spoke to reporters after the brief court appearance Thursday and issued a statement that he prepared with Maren’s father, Jose Sanchez.

“Maren Sanchez stands for everything good in our society, kind, generous, a beautiful young adult with endless promise,” the statement reads. “When we lose someone like her we all suffer. I'm here again today to make sure the justice system works for the families of people like her.

“We will continue to participate in the process and will not fade away,” the statement reads.

A garden will be dedicated in Maren’s honor at Jonathan Law High School Oct. 22. During a school board meeting this week, a student speaker announced the creation of what she called a “purple garden.” Purple was Maren’s favorite color.

In an Oct. 10 letter to the Jonathan Law community, School Principal Fran Thompson also spoke of the garden, calling it “Maren’s Memory Garden.”

“The loss of our beloved Maren Sanchez has significantly impacted our school family,” Thompson wrote. “Out of our sorrow has grown a community of compassion with a greater appreciation for those around us and a belief that we can and should make a difference. These core beliefs embodied who Maren Sanchez was and the legacy she has left for all of us who knew and loved her.”