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Christopher Plaskon Pleads Not Guilty In Milford Prom Day Slaying

MILFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A 17-year-old Connecticut boy charged with stabbing a classmate to death on the day of their high school's junior prom pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday.

Christopher Plaskon entered the plea in Milford Superior Court. He also waived his right to a probable cause hearing and elected for a trial before a three-judge panel rather than a jury.

Plaskon, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his feet shackled, looked attentive but impassive during the 13-minute hearing, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

Christopher Plaskon Pleads Not Guilty In Milford Prom Day Slaying

Plaskon's attorney, Richard Meehan, said after the hearing that he's investigating a possible mental health defense and said such a defense would be more difficult to make before a jury.

"I'm a firm believer that juries have a very difficult time with issues pertaining to mental health in the criminal justice system," Meehan said.

Plaskon, whose family attended the hearing, is on anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medications, Meehan said in court.

Plaskon, who turned 17 last week, is being held on $3 million bond at Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire, where he was placed at a hospital under suicide watch.

Plaskon is charged with murder in the death of Maren Sanchez, a friend who was stabbed in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School in Milford on April 25. The attack occurred hours before the school's junior prom, and police have been investigating whether it was related to Sanchez's refusal to be Plaskon's date.

A witness saw Plaskon on top of Sanchez during the attack and tried unsuccessfully to pull him away, and another saw him discard a bloody knife, according to a police affidavit.

Plaskon, his clothes bloody, was taken to the principal's office, where an officer arrived and asked what happened. "I did it. Just arrest me,'' Plaskon replied, according to the officer.

Plaskon's family issued a statement days after the incident, offering their deepest sympathies to the Sanchez family.

"Please know that you are forever in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers," the statement said. "We join with the entire Milford community to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of this most vibrant and exceptional young woman."

Sanchez was a member of the National Honor Society who was active in drama and other school activities. A memorial fund has also been set up in her name to honor her life.

Plaskon, who is charged as an adult, faces up to 60 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 25 years if found guilty of murder.

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