The attorney for Jennifer Hromadka, the fiancée of the man accused of murdering Annie Le GRD ’13, said Thursday that police have no case against his client.
The lawyer, Robert Berke, said he still does not know why police are seeking a sample of Hromadka’s DNA.
“There is no case against Hromadka,” Berke said.
He would not confirm or deny whether a warrant for Hromadka’s DNA had been filed. A clerk at the New Haven Superior Courthouse said the office had not received any new documents in the case as of Thursday morning.
Though Berke declined to say when he had been hired by Hromadka, he said relatives of her fiancé, Raymond Clark III, hired lawyers after authorities named him as a suspect in Le’s murder in September. Clark’s relatives — including his sister and brother-in-law, Denise and Shawn Kent — still have lawyers, said Ed Gavin, a Bridgeport lawyer who represents Clark’s mother, Diane. Gavin declined to say whether she, too, is facing police scrutiny.
Berke said he received more than 70 calls from reporters Thursday, including from Larry King and Matt Lauer, to discuss the request for Hromadka’s DNA. Gavin added that Diane Sawyer recently sent flowers along with a request to interview Diane Clark.
Beth Merkin, one of Clark’s defense attorneys, said Thursday that Berke informed her Wednesday about the DNA request. She said she does not know why the police would want more DNA samples, but that the request does not affect Clark’s defense strategy.
“Until I figure out how this fits into their theory, nothing changes from our point of view,” Merkin said.
John Waddock, the state prosecutor in charge of the Clark case, could not be reached for comment Thursday because he was away from his office, and New Haven State’s Attorney Michael Dearington declined to comment Wednesday. New Haven Police Department spokesman Joseph Avery declined to comment Thursday.
Merkin said seeking the DNA of people closely linked with a suspect is fairly common in murder investigations. She said pieces of evidence sometimes contain the DNA of multiple people, so police often try to identify them. Since Clark and Hromadka shared a Middletown, Conn., apartment and a 2000 Ford Mustang, the prosecution may be looking to tie the suspect’s fiancée to the case, Merkin said.
Hromadka, a 2004 graduate of North Haven High School, is still employed at Yale as an animal technician, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said Thursday. He declined to say whether she has taken a leave recently or on whether this development in the case could affect her employment status. When Clark was arrested Sept. 17, the University suspended him indefinitely.
Two of Clark’s neighbors declined to comment on Hromadka when reached by phone Thursday. But at the time of Clark’s arrest, Sana Mayfield, who lives above Clark’s apartment, said he and his family kept to themselves.
“No one really knows him well,” Mayfield said at the time.
Clark was arrested Sept. 17 and charged with Le’s murder. He is due back in court Dec. 21 for a hearing on whether the state has enough evidence to prosecute him. He has yet to enter a plea.
Clark is being held at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn., on $3 million bond.
Colin Ross contributed reporting.