The grim shadow of death row and the company of some of the nation's toughest criminals is hardly something that Clark, who before he was charged with killing Yale grad student Annie Le had barely a spot on his record, could have ever considered.
But his arraignment on murder charges has changed Clark's life forever. Instead of caring for lab mice at Yale and playing softball in games after work, he sits in a cell at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution.
And one day if he's found guilty, he could be transferred to a cellblock at the Northern Correctional Institution, the home of Connecticut's death row.
Clark entered no plea at his appearance in court Thursday, and was sent to McDougall-Walker, a prison for the state's high and maximum security inmates.
As is common with high-profile inmates, Clark likely spent his first night behind bars in a separate area of the prison, commonly called a pretrial holding cell,f or his own safety, according to Ed Bales at the Federal Prison Consultants LLC.
"He's with killers and rapists and murderers and his lifestyle over the past 24 hours has changed completely," said Bales. "But these people don't have access to Clark right now." , Under Connecticut law, Clark has 60 days from the day of his arrest to waive his right to a probable cause hearing, which is required in order to stand trial for a crime such as murder, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment.
It would be at the probable cause hearing, according to Timothy Everett, a professor of law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where a prosecutor would argue for the charge to be upgraded to capital murder, the only charge in the state for which the death penalty can be invoked.
"Murder alone does not carry the death penalty in Connecticut unless the state goes further and charges a capital felony," said Everett. "In order to charge a person with a capital felony, a person would have to commit a murder in a number of ways specified in the statute."
According to that statute, the death penalty is applicable to any individual who murders a police officer, hires someone to murder, murders while he was already convicted of a murder or murders while he is sentenced to life in prison.
Convicted murderers can also be executed if they killed someone while committing first-degree sexual assault or killed a person whom they had kidnapped. Double-murders, as well as the murder of a person under the age of 16, is also punishable by death.
In Clark's case, the affidavits have not yet been released and little is known about what exactly went into Le's killing.
"It might be very hard, and by design it should be hard, to sentence someone like Clark to death," said Everett. "Relatively few of the murder cases in Connecticut are tried as capital felonies."
John Walkey, a Connecticut-based criminal attorney, said that only two of the eight provisions that allow a criminal to be sentenced to death are possible in the Clark case.