July 30, 2014 / 6:25 PM / in 3 years

Insanity plea mulled for Connecticut teen in prom stabbing case

MILFORD Conn. (Reuters) - Lawyers for a Connecticut high school student accused of murdering a female classmate hours before their junior prom began talks on Wednesday on whether to amend his plea to not guilty based on insanity or on related grounds.

Christopher Plaskon, 17, pleaded not guilty in June to the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Maren Sanchez. At a pretrial hearing at Connecticut Superior Court in Milford on Wednesday, his attorney, Richard Meehan, began discussions with Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti on which variant of the plea to enter.

In addition to a possible plea of not guilty based on insanity, Meehan is considering a plea of not guilty based on extreme emotional disturbance or diminished mental capacity.

“We are reviewing the vast materials and seeking additional evidence,” said Meehan, who did not amend his client’s plea on Wednesday. The judge said he would take up the matter again on Oct. 16.

Plaskon has been charged with stabbing Sanchez in the chest, neck and face with a kitchen knife in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School in Milford on April 25, the day of the school prom.

Iannotti granted Plaskon’s request in June that the case be decided by a three-judge panel rather than a jury.

The victim’s father, Jose Sanchez, released a statement on Wednesday saying his daughter, who did not live with him, had visited him at his home in Miami shortly before she died.

“Losing a child is the deepest of all losses,” Sanchez said.

At Plaskon’s May arraignment, Meehan said the teenager was exhibiting signs of psychosis, had been on a 24-hour suicide watch and was taking anti-psychotic medication.

Police are still investigating reports the attack came after Sanchez rebuffed Plaskon’s invitation to the junior prom.

As he was taken into custody, covered in blood, Plaskon told the arresting officer: “I did it. Just arrest me,” according to court documents.

Reporting by Richard Weizel; Editing by Scott Malone, Peter Cooney and Eric Beech

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