Ray Clark Stays Quiet During Hearing for Annie Le Murder Case

Clark's lawyers says he will plead "not guilty" to killing Yale grad student Le.

October 6, 2009, 12:27 AM

NEW HAVEN., Conn. Oct. 6, 2009 -- Raymond Clark, the 24-year-old Yale University lab tech charged with the murder of graduate student Annie Le, stood mutely before a New Haven judge this morning and did not enter a plea.

Lawyers for Clark said later that their client will plead not guilty.

Clark entered the courtrooom wearing an orange jumpsuit and white sneakers and looked around nervously as he crossed the courtroom. When he reached the defendant's table he stood, looking straight ahead and down for the entirety of the five minute hearing.

The suspect never sat or spoke or made eye contact with anyone.

Clark's refusal to speak appears to be a continuation of his reaction since his arrest. Police said that after he was taken in custody, he refused to speak to them to offer either a defense or a motive.

Clark's attorney, Joseph Lopez, said that the defense has yet to see any evidence but is expecting "boxes and boxes" of it.

Asked how Clark was doing, Lopez said, "as well as can be expected."

They ended today's hearing after setting a date for a hearing on Oct 20, when it will be decided whether a probable cause hearing will be held. It is possible that Clark will enter his plea at that hearing.

A probable cause hearing, if held, will be the first opportunity for the defense and prosecution to introduce evidence and witnesses. The judge will also decide at that time whether to unseal warrants in the case.

Le had been found dead, her body crammed into a wall in the basement of a Yale University laboratory where she performed research on mice. Her body was found on what was supposed to be her wedding day.

Clark cleaned and maintained the cages for the lab.

Her cause of death was listed as strangulation, or as it was officially described, "traumatic asphyxia due to neck compression," according to the Connecticut medical examiner.

Deep scratches on Clark's body and his failure to pass a lie detector test contributed to police focusing on him as a suspect.

On Sept. 18, Clark was arrested and brought into court in chains where he was ordered held on $3 million bail.

Clark has been imprisoned at the MacDougal-Walker Correctional Institution, a massive prison in South Suffield, Conn., reserved for inmates who are considered to be high or maximum security risks.

Annie Le was a promising 24-year-old graduate student with hopes of using her gifts to cure diseases and an upcoming wedding. Clark, also 24, was a lab tech at the New Haven Ivy League school, who lived with his girlfriend and planned on a 2011 wedding, according to a now-abandoned online wedding profile.

Sources told the Hartford Courant that Clark's Yale swipe card indicated he was the last person to see Le alive. The electronic trail left by his card indicated he had entered the same lab where Le was last seen. Clark also reportedly swiped his identification card at least 10 times in the hours surrounding Le's disappearance, the paper reported.

Who is the Real Ray Clark

Police said Clark had no criminal record but his name was mentioned in a police report from Branford, Conn., in 2003, reportedly connected to an alleged sexual assault.

There is the Ray Clark his high school friends remember: competitive baseball player who respected authority, volunteered to help the homeless and raised money for cancer-stricken patients. He was also a member of the Asian Awareness Club.

Others, drawing mostly from memories of more recent days, saw a darker side of the 24-year-old Clark: withdrawn, officious at work, and very controlling of his fiance. There is even a police report suggesting that Clark once menaced his high school girlfriend enough for her to call the cops.

Branford authorities investigated Clark in 2003 after a girlfriend claimed she had been forced to have sex with him and feared what Clark might do if she broke up with him.

Le was engaged to marry Jonathan Widawsky, a graduate student in applied physics and mathematics at Columbia University.