Plea or trial expected at next Christopher Plaskon hearing
There’s a plea agreement on the table in the case of Christopher Plaskon, accused of murdering classmate Maren Sanchez at Jonathan Law High School in April 2014. But as of Tuesday, the defense and prosecution have not come to agreement on that proposal, and Plaskon’s case has been continued to March 7.
A packed courtroom on Tuesday, Feb. 23, suggested people expected there might be a decision — a plea agreement or a move toward trial.
But State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor said discussions are continuing.
Lawlor told Judge John Ronan that the state would like to see “the offer previously made remain” on the table.
Plaskon’s attorney, Edward Gavin, agreed to the continuance. Speaking outside the courtroom to reporters later, Gavin said he could not discuss the nature of the plea proposal.
Both sides agreed that a decision will be made at the March 7 court hearing. There will be either acceptance or rejection of the proposal. If the proposal is rejected, the case will go to trial.
“We are sort of at the end of the road — a fork in the road,” Gavin said outside the courthouse. “We will either work it out at the next court date or the case will be placed on the trial list at that time.”
At a court appearance in December, Plaskon’s attorneys were given medical reports from evaluations that the prosecution had requested. Plaskon’s mental health at the time of the murder is key, his attorneys said.
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.
Also according to documents, a friend told police that Plaskon had implied he wanted to hurt Maren because he wanted to be more than just friends with her and he wanted to take her to the prom, but she was seeing someone else.
According to the friend, Plaskon said he “wouldn’t mind if [Maren] was dead or hit by a bus.”
Plaskon’s parents told police their son had a “significant history dealing with mental health issues as a child.” He was treated on and off for several years, court documents state.
Plaskon’s parents also said their son had mood swings and possibly depression several months preceding the murder, documents state.
Plaskon, 18, is being held at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire on $3-million bond.