Who Is Ray Clark, Accused of Murdering Yale Student Annie Le?

Ray Clark, 24, is charged with the killing of Yale student Annie Le.

September 17, 2009, 12:28 PM

Sept. 17, 2009 — -- Conflicting images of Raymond Clark III, accused of murdering Yale grad student Annie Le, are emerging since his arrest in her strangulation.

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Others, drawing mostly from memories of more recent days, saw a darker side of the 24-year-old Clark: withdrawn, officious at work, and very controlling of his fiance.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.

Ryan Santoro, who says he's known Clark since they were both 12 and played on a Little League baseball team together in Branford, Conn., said that he never thought of Clark as someone who would be involved in a murder case.

"I never would have thought that he would have done anything like this," said Santoro, who played alongside Clark for five years. "Most of the guys we played with are pretty shocked at the [accusations against Clark]."

Santoro described Clark as a "pretty good ballplayer" who had a competitive streak.

"He cared about winning," said Santoro. "He wouldn't have played if he didn't."

Asked whether he recalls Clark's having a short fuse on the field or off, Santoro said "no."

"He was a pretty nice kid," said Santoro. "He was very good with people who were older. He respected authority."

Kelly Godfrey, 23, has known Clark since elementary school and said that the last time they spoke was about eight months ago when they exchanged MySpace messages.

"Ray was just the nicest kid," said Godfrey. "He wasn't judgmental. He was really quiet, but he was very friendly."

"He was easily one of the nicest guys in our class. This is really a shock," Godfrey said.

Stephen Melcher also played baseball with Clark in elementary school and said that he too is shocked at the allegations against his one-time teammate.

"He was a good kid growing up, I never would have expected this from him" said Melcher. "I'm in utter, total shock and disbelief."

Melcher described Clark as "popular" and an avid Mets baseball fan.

But according to reports, local 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.

Ray Clark Described as 'Controlling' of His Girlfriend

At Yale, however, Clark was described as "quiet" by those who knew him at the lab where he worked since 2004.

Colleen Murphy, who saw Clark at the Yale lab, told the Yale Daily News, "When I would see him walking through the halls, he would look at the ground, wouldn't really look at anyone."

Another fellow researcher who was not named told The New York Times that Clark's work habits were "very officious and very demanding."

Sources tell ABC News there were e-mails or text messages between Clark and Le regarding the cleanliness of the lab. Clark's job included cleaning the mice cages in the lab, and in his message to Le he complained that she had left the cages dirty, sources said.

Clark worked alongside his fiancee, Jennifer Hromadka, at the Yale lab, and also lived with her at a nearby apartment complex known as Wharfside Commons.

At least one neighbor claims that Clark did not treat Hromadka very well.

Annmarie Goodwin, a woman who was Clark's neighbor in Branford, tells ABC's "Good Morning America" that Clark was "very controlling of his girlfriend. He wouldn't let her talk to me, or anything."

But Hromadka has gone online to defend her boyfriend. She lashed out on her MySpace page last year over rumors that Clark had had a fling with a woman at the lab,

"My boyfriend, Ray, if you don't know him, has no interest in any of the other girls at YARC as anything more than friends," she wrote. Hromadka described Clark as "a bit naive ... but a good guy."

Hromadka also wrote in an undated MySpace page entry that she wished people would stop judging her.

"Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect and I don't live to be, but before you start pointing fingers make sure your hands are clean!!" said Hromadka.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events