Clark plea expected today

After months of delays, Raymond Clark III, the Yale animal lab technician charged with murdering Annie Le GRD ’13, is likely to show up to the New Haven Superior Court this morning to plead not guilty, his lawyers said over the weekend.

At the hearing, Clark’s lawyers are expected to tell Judge Roland Fasano that Clark will waive his right to a probable cause hearing, in which they would have argued that there is not enough evidence to justify charging him with murder. One of Clark’s lawyers, Beth Merkin, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday, has reviewed materials the prosecution may use against her client and will recommend that he plead not guilty and proceed to trial, according to the Associated Press.

The move is not unexpected. Clark’s other lawyer, Joseph Lopez, told the News in October that his client would plead not guilty, regardless of whether a probable cause hearing would occur.

“The standard is very, very low [for proving probable cause],” Lopez said.

If, as expected, Clark pleads not guilty and the case proceeds to trial, the proceedings may not begin for up to a year and a half, New Haven-based trial lawyer David Grudberg ’82 said.

“It’s hard to generalize, but it could be years before this goes to trial,” he said.

He explained that the lawyers may find it difficult to select an unbiased jury pool, citing the current struggle to form one for the infamous 2007 Cheshire home invasion. Last week, jury selection started for the trial of Steven Hayes, who allegedly broke into a Cheshire home in 2007 and killed a mother and two children. Because of the notoriety of the crime within the state, legal experts said many jury candidates may have biases against Hayes. Although the candidates interviewed on the first and the third days were dismissed, on the second day, a retired editor from New Haven was selected as the first juror.

Grudberg said that, particularly for the Clark case, he expects the potential for a biased jury to be “very significant.”

Though Clark was supposed to appear in court Dec. 21, the hearing was put off until this morning because not all of the materials in the case had been made available to lawyers, Merkin said last month. John Waddock, the state prosecutor handling the case, said at the time that the postponement was necessary because of a backlog at the state forensics laboratory. (Waddock declined to comment for this story over the weekend.)

Because of the same backlog, Robert Berke — the attorney for Clark’s fiancée, Jennifer Hromadka, whose DNA has been collected in Le’s murder investigation — said Monday that he still has not received information on whether the DNA has been analyzed.

Though State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said last month that the Le case was top priority and that the DNA evidence needed for Clark’s case to proceed has been examined, he acknowledged at the time that a backlog nevertheless “exists to a certain extent.”

Clark was arrested and charged with Le’s murder Sept. 17. He is being held at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn., on $3 million bond.

Vivian Yee and the Associated Press contributed reporting.


  • this is so wrong.:

    I read last night that Jennifer regularly visits Raymond in jail. If your future husband was charged with cold blooded murder and concealment of a body of a very young and VERY tiny helpless girl, would YOU still visit him??

    Granted, he hasnt gone to trial, blah blah blah, innocent until proven guilty blah blah. But even from what we know reading the news, he seems pretty guilty (even his lawyers believe there is enough evidence against him to waive a probable cause hearing), and that would be enough for me to be terrified of the possibility that my future husband is a murderer, and I would stay the heck away from him until i knew for sure.

    Seems like she just doesnt care. Which is consistent with her behavior on campus as of recent. I hope she decides to leave us sometime soon so we dont have to see her anymore and be constantly reminded of the hurt caused by this. and of her inability for showing empathy, just like her dear fiance.

    and i hope his trial proceeds quickly. At least we know that until then he will be in jail, and even though he will have the company of his fiancee from time to time, he cant possibly be enjoying his time there. That is how I get to sleep every night.

  • Stephen:

    Why have a trial? All the evidence points to him. If it is this clear to every one and thier is no doubt just kill him now. Just like the 2 that killed the Dr’s family. They were seen leaving the house kill them now. Why do we have to be so nice to killers? Some times other countries have it right when its so clear to all!

  • Unca known:

    Hang Him High . ahh ah ahh . bing bang bong ,ahhh ahh ahhhh . Maybe his partner Jennifer is keeping a close eye on Ray.
    Either way the University will have to hire him back – thems the union rules

  • Casey:

    They have the suspect, the plea and the evidence. March 3rd is the next court date. What is supposed to happen then?

    I think if this much evidence is found on someone it should be a mandatory trial. The delays in this case seem very unnecessary. When I read these articles say it could be years until this case closes it makes my stomach cringe.

  • give a dam:

    Why should she leave?? How do you know how she is feeling?? I wish that I could visit him. We dont know what really happened so we cant judge just by the tragic outcome. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!! BY A TRAIL!!! NOT BY US THE PUBLIC!!

  • carl:

    Annie’s death was completely senseless and horrible cruel and brutal. The clarks have shown zero sympathy or remorse for the crime. Nothing can make this right. Reading that Jennifer visits him regularly is typical for how they have all behaved. They are all cowards. I wish there were more charges be filed against the family for helping support Ray in the days after the murder.

    Here is a nice tribute to Annie

  • joe:

    Why should she leave?? How do you know how she is feeling?? I wish that I could visit him.


    Why is it you want to visit Clark? Do You know him? What circumstances could possible justify his crimes. Not just the murder, but his actions after the murder, hiding her body, letting her be found on her wedding day, etc…? Curious for your opinion.

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