Published November 30, 2015
A lawyer for the 16-year-old charged with murder in the stabbing of a fellow student at a Connecticut high school on the day of their junior prom says his client is under psychological evaluation.
Attorney Richard Meehan said Saturday that the teen was committed and will likely remain in a medical facility for two weeks. Meehan said doctors typically order such involuntary commitments in cases where a suspect is considered a danger to himself.
The boy, who was charged as a juvenile in the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Maren Sanchez, will not appear at an arraignment scheduled for Monday in New Haven.
Authorities could later choose to charge him as an adult, but he would need to appear in court for that to happen. State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor said several factors go into that decision, including the seriousness of the charges.
The teen is accused of fatally stabbing Sanchez in the hallway of Jonathan Law High School in Milford Friday morning.
Another student at the high school and local media reports indicated that Sanchez was attacked because she refused to go to prom with the suspect Friday night. Milford police said they were investigating, but would not confirm a motive.
Meehan said the suspect's family is also reeling from the attack.
"His family is devastated not only for him, but for the youngster who was killed. It's a terrible situation all the way around," Meehan said.
The shaken community and residents from surrounding areas packed First United Church of Christ and gathered on nearby Walnut Beach Friday night to remember the girl described as a standout student who had plenty of friends, and was an active member in after-school programs.
"Even though we're in different parts of town, we're all connected," Valerie Pozdnyakova, a student at a nearby high school told The New Haven Register. Pozdnyakova, like many students, was dressed in her prom attire to remember Sanchez, who had plans to attend the dance with her boyfriend. The dance has been postponed indefinitely.
Classmates released purple balloons in her memory from the beach and painted a rock in front of her school with her date of birth on it in white.
The victim's cousin, Edward Kovac, said Friday in a statement on behalf of the family that they are shocked and devastated. He said Sanchez was "a bright light full of hopes and dreams with her future at her fingertips."
Sanchez, a member of the National Honor Society and a manager of the school's swim team was heavily involved with community service, particularly causes like underage drinking and veterans' services, school officials said.
She was also a member of her school's drama club and had been practicing for her May 2 role as the large plant in a production of "Little Shop of Horrors."
Michael Mele, the drama director at the school, saw Sanchez Thursday night at rehearsals and recalled her excitement over the prom and having just had her nails done.
"She was talking about plans for a double-date and had such energy," he said, calling her the "epitome of a good student."
Mele said he felt numb after learning she had died and said he corralled students to support each other. Mele said he hopes that the play will go on in her honor and intends to hold another rehearsal on Monday night.
"If it's just all of us on stage crying at rehearsal, then that's what it's going to be," he said. "But the theater is a family and I want all of my students to console each other."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.