MILFORD -- As he stood with his lawyers in the courtroom Friday morning, Christopher Plaskon had an odd look on his face, not a smile, not a blank stare, but a look eerily similar to his yearbook photo.
"He is suffering from an active psychosis," his lawyer, Richard Meehan, said later. "I do believe he is sick."
But State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor said Meehan's opinion will not likely have an effect on his prosecution of the 16-year-old Plaskon in the fatal slashing of his Jonathan Law High School classmate, Maren Sanchez.
"They are going to proceed with their theories, and we will continue our investigation of the case," the prosecutor said.
Plaskon stood in the crowded courtroom in handcuffs and shackles. He wore a blue hooded sweatshirt, blue sweatpants and white socks with no shoes. He was flanked by Meehan and judicial marshals.
Plaskon, who is being charged as an adult, remained quiet and unemotional during the brief hearing.
No family members except his uncle, Paul Healy, were present. Healy, the director of safety at Sacred Heart University and a former Milford police officer, was appointed Plaskon's guardian. Healy and the Plaskon family are reportedly very close and live next door to each other. Healy's wife, who is now deceased, used to baby-sit Plaskon.
"His parents wanted to come, and it was our recommendation that they not come and we let the uncle stand in today," Meehan said. "They are a very large family and all their hearts are broken."
The baby-faced teen is the third of five brothers.
He faces up to 60 years in prison if found guilty, with a mandatory minimum of 25 years.
His arraignment came a day after Sanchez's wake that attracted nearly 1,000 mourners.
Following his appearance in court, Plaskon was taken to the state Department of Correction's Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire. Edward Gavin, who also represents Plaskon, said the facility holds boys between the ages of 14 and 21.
"Christopher is in the right place and will be in the institute's medical facility," he said.
The judge ordered that Plaskon be under a suicide watch, and the lawyers said Plaskon's care at the facility will be overseen by a psychologist.
"We are satisfied in our discussion with Chris that he understands he is charged with murder, but whether he understands the full ramifications of that remains to be seen," Meehan added.
If convicted of murder, Plaskon could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison as an adult.
The Sanchez family did not attend Friday's hearing and Meehan did not say whether family members would attend future hearings.
"This is as difficult a day that a family could endure," he said.
Police said the 16-year-old Sanchez, an athlete and National Honor Society member, was confronted by childhood friend Plaskon, in a first-floor hallway at the school around 7 a.m., before classes began last Friday. Police said Sanchez was slashed across the throat, face and chest. A teacher saw Plaskon on top of Sanchez during the attack and unsuccessfully tried to pull him off her, according to a police report. Another witness pointed officers to the bloody knife where it had been dropped a short distance down the hallway, authorities said.
A report issued by Milford police Tuesday said after Plaskon slashed Sanchez, he dropped the knife and calmly walked to the principal's office at Jonathan Law High School.
"I did it. Just arrest me," he told Officer James Kiely, the school's resource officer, according to reports.
Kiely had been called to the principal's office, where he found Plaskon with bloody hands and clothing. The report states that Kiely, who knows Plaskon, asked him what happened and the boy confessed. Kiely handcuffed Plaskon, then went to the scene in the hallway where he found Sanchez in grave condition.
Neither the lawyers nor the prosecutor would confirm reports from other students that Plaskon slashed Sanchez because she refused to go to the junior prom with him. Nor would they confirm reports that Plaskon has a history of depression and cutting himself.
Meehan said several times after the hearing that his client suffers from a psychiatric illness.
Plaskon will meet with psychologists and psychiatrists as the case proceeds, he said.
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