A judge is expected to decide today whether a car owned by Raymond Clark III and seized by police in September will be returned to Clark’s family, said Joseph Lopez, one of Clark’s lawyers.
According to warrants released in December, police discovered a pair of bloody white Converse sneakers, stained hospital scrubs and a dark garbage bag in the red 2000 Ford Mustang, shared by Clark — who pleaded not guilty in January to the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13 — and his fiancee, Jennifer Hromadka. Now, the defense has asked the judge to order police to return the Mustang because they say the car contains no evidence linking Clark to a crime, Lopez said.
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Clark’s family is suffering “undue hardship” because one of Clark’s family members, whom Lopez declined to name, co-signed a loan in order for Clark to buy the car and has to make monthly payments on the loan, according to the request.
Lopez said he thinks New Haven Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano will likely return the car tomorrow, but he said he does not know which family member will receive it.
“We don’t believe there is anything that has been found or connected to that car that has anything to do with the allegations,” Lopez said.
John Waddock, the state prosecutor handling the case, did not respond to an e-mail request Tuesday night for comment about Clark’s car.
According to the defense’s request, police seized the car outside Clark’s apartment in Middletown, Conn., on Sept. 16, the day before Clark’s arrest.
Sometime during the investigation in the fall semester, police also seized a car belonging to Clark’s mother, Diane. Fasano ruled in January that the car could be returned to Diane Clark with the condition that, if necessary, the prosecution could submit the vehicle as secondary evidence during a trial. According to court documents, Clark entered his mother’s car on Sept. 8 after leaving 10 Amistad St., where Le’s body was found. During the investigation, the car was searched and police found bloodstained evidence.
New Haven-based criminal defense attorney David Grudberg ’82 said requests to return seized cars are not unusual.
In addition to the hearing on the car, the prosecution and defense will meet with Fasano in private today to discuss how the case is going.
Clark himself will be at the courthouse today to meet with his lawyers, Lopez said, though he declined to comment on what they will discuss. The defense has not yet decided whether Clark will appear in public, Lopez said.
Waddock said he would not comment on what business might be conducted on the record today.
Clark is being held on a $3 million bond at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn.