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A young woman, Maren Sanchez, 16, was killed by her classmate Christopher Plaskon on the day of their prom back in April 2014. Plaskon pleaded no contest to the murder and has been jailed for 25 years.
Plaskon and Sanchez were both 16-year-old juniors at the same school, friends even, growing up together from a young age. The attack ensued on the morning of the school’s prom, which was on April 25, 2014, after Sanchez refused to be Plaskon’s prom date. A witness said a man had pulled the killer (Plaskon) off the 16-year-old victim, at which time another witness claimed he saw Plaskon discard a bloody knife after the attack. Staff members and paramedics attempted to safe Sanchez, however, she was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after arriving.
Sanchez’s heartbroken family said Sanchez had been very eager to go to prom; she was planning on going with her new boyfriend and had posted pictures of her prom dress online to her Facebook page. A friend of Plaskon’s told police that he had been thinking about hurting Sanchez because he wanted to be more than just friends with her, and she was not interested in him in this way.
Mark Robinson, a technical education teacher said ‘There’s no reason to suspect he would have done this, I think that’s what makes it harder.’ However, November the previous year, only a few months before the fatal day, Maren reported to their guidance counselor that Plaskon seemed to be emotionally disturbed, and someone should speak to him. The guidance counselor failed to advise anyone of Maren’s concerns that Plaskon needed help to prevent violence in the future.
A new juvenile justice law within this state calls for a review of long prison sentences for younger offenders. This means Plaskon, who is now 18, would be eligible for parole after serving 60 percent of his sentence. In addition, Plaskon might only need to serve 15 years of his 25-year sentence. 12 years from now, Plaskon could be released back into the public.
While in prison, Plaskon wrote a letter to his father telling him “he hears voices” in his head and that is “the reason he did what he did.” However, prosecutors insisted on keeping the murder charge rather than a mental health deal. The prosecution stated, “I believe he should be punished severely and I believe he is being punished severely,” Lawlor, the prosecutor, said after the hearing. “He is pleading guilty to murder because I came out here on day one and I believe I stated that he was being charged with murder.”
Physicians at two hospitals concluded that Plaskon suffered psychosis the day of the murder, and it was not just him aiming to use it as a way to avoid jail time. “It wasn’t a situation where he had asked her to the prom the day before and she said no and he was devastated and he lashed out at her,” Gavin, Plaskon’s Lawyer said. “It was a function of him being psychotic. The individual that wound up being attacked was Maren Sanchez … but in reality, it could have been any one of those students.”
Sanchez’s parents have also filed a lawsuit, which accuses the school system of carelessness, looking at the fact that Sanchez has reported to the counselor that Plaskon was troubled and capable of hurting others, but the school did not try to help or prevent this from happening. Instead they ignored it for months.
School officials declined to comment on this case.