Ray Clark, Alleged Killer of Annie Le, Could Spend Life Behind Bars If Convicted

"This case isn't even eligible for the death penalty unless the state stretches the way it interprets kidnapping," said Walkey. "Kidnapping as a rule in the traditional sense means being taken and held for ransom, but the interpretation of kidnapping is actually much less than that. It could be merely someone taking someone against their will and moving them from one place to another."

If Clark were to be convicted of sexually assaulting Le in the first degree, which requires the involvement of a deadly weapon, the crime could also be eligible for the death penalty, said Walkey.

Steven Duke, a professor of law at the Yale Law School, said that it's more likely than not that if Clark is convicted, he will spend his life in prison, and not just because of the strict requirements that must be met for the death penalty to prevail.

"In my opinion, in 10 or 15 years from now there won't be a death penalty in Connecticut," said Duke, adding that the opposition to the death penalty in the state over recent years has grown tremendously.

In 2005, the first death row inmate in 45 years was executed. Michael Ross, put to death by lethal injection May 13, 2005, had been convicted of killing four women and had admitted to killing four others.

Today, the 10 men who await their executions are in various stages of appeal, a long process that Duke said makes death row inmates chance of dying of natural causes rather than at the executioner's hand much more likely.

"It certainly seems like it's harder in Connecticut to have the death penalty imposed than it is in places such as Oklahoma or Texas," said Walkey. "The people of Connecticut are just not as strongly in favor of the death penalty as they are in other parts of the country.

"The death penalty tends not to be a punishment that is sought and when it is, it's only in the most extraordinary cases," he said.

If convicted and sentenced to life, Clark could very well stay in the same jail he's in now, but would be moved to a cell closer to the other 2,101 inmates. He would be assigned a job that could be anything from working at the commissary to performing basic janitorial duties.

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