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Teen accused of murder before Connecticut prom makes court appearance

By Richard Weizel

MILFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - A 16-year-old Connecticut boy accused of murdering a female classmate hours before their high school's junior prom made his first public appearance in court on Friday, looking disheveled and expressionless.

Christopher Plaskon did not speak during his arraignment in Milford Superior Court in Connecticut.

The Milford teen is accused of stabbing Maren Sanchez, 16, a fellow junior at Jonathan Law High School, in her neck, chest and face with a kitchen knife on April 25.

Plaskon is "exhibiting signs of active psychosis and is on medication with a one-on-one suicide watch," his attorney Richard Meehan Jr. said.

"He is sick and needs continued treatment but understands what he did and the charges against him," the lawyer added.

Plaskon, who is being tried as a adult, shuffled into the courtroom in shackles and handcuffs, assisted by guards. Thin, with short brown hair, he looked pale.

His attorney told Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti that the teen's uncle, Paul Healy of Milford, would stand in for his parents, who he said were too devastated to appear in public.

"We advised them not to attend today's proceedings," Meehan said.

The stabbing took place just hours before the school's junior prom was to start. Taken into custody at the school, Plaskon told the arresting officer: "I did it. Just arrest me," court documents said.

Police have said they were investigating reports that the victim had rebuffed Plaskon's attentions, including an invitation to the prom.

Outside the courthouse, prosecutor Kevin Lawlor declined to elaborate on a possible motive.

"Everything is being investigated by the Milford police," he said.

The judge, who earlier ordered Plaskon held on $3 million bail, ordered him transferred from an undisclosed psychiatric facility to a high-security youth facility in Cheshire.

The judge also scheduled a probable cause hearing for June 4 and granted the defense request that Plaskon remain on a 24-hour suicide watch.

A wake for Sanchez on Thursday at a local funeral home drew hundreds of mourners, including many classmates, with a line that extended around the block. Thousands attended a candlelight vigil for Sanchez on the school football field on Monday night.

Milford is about 60 miles from New York City.

(Reporting by Richard Weizel; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Lisa Von Ahn and Andrew Hay)

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