Raymond Clark III, on Trial in Yale Murder Case, Will Accept Plea Bargain

The man accused of killing a Yale grad student is expected to take a plea deal.

March 16, 2011 — -- Attorneys for Raymond Clark III, an animal research assistant charged with the murder of Yale University graduate student Annie Le, have indicated their client will accept a plea deal on Thursday and plead guilty in the case.

Connecticut attorney Joseph Lopez, one of two public defenders representing Clark, said he isn't able to reveal "the nature of the plea bargain," but he said "there will be a change of plea entered tomorrow" as part of the agreement.

Clark, 26, is charged with strangling the 24-year-old Le just days before her wedding in September 2009.

Clark entered an initial plea of not guilty in January. He has been held on $3 million bail in New Haven, Connecticut ever since.

Senior Assistant Public Defender Beth Merkin echoed Lopez, saying she anticipates "a change of plea will be happening." But Merkin refused to comment any further on "what that change will entail."

Connecticut State Attorney John Waddock, heading up the prosecution in the case, said only, "There is a court preceding scheduled for tomorrow… beyond that, I'm not going to comment."

Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for Annie Le's family said, "The family is grateful for the support they've received from the community and from law enforcement..."

"They are aware of the possible guilty plea, but want to withhold comment until it is officially announced by the court. They are also conscious of the sad fact that no plea and no sentence will bring Annie back," Eckery said.

Le's body was discovered four days after she went missing -- on the day of her intended wedding. It was stuffed in a wall at a Yale research laboratory where she conducted research on mice. Clark regularly tended to the animals in the same lab.

A spokesman for Yale University, Michael Morand, said the school had no comment about the potential guilty plea, but they are following developments.

The Clark family has only issued one statement, coming last June during pre-trial proceedings. At the time Clark's father, Raymond Clark Jr., said Clark was "a loving, caring, and kind-hearted son... unlike the picture that has been painted of him...."

But court documents tell a different story.

Clark had scratches on his face and left arm when he met with investigators, but claimed they came from a cat. Numerous pieces of evidence from the crime scene also contained both Le's and Clark's DNA, including a bloody sock hidden in the facility's ceiling.