Community reacts to Clark sentence

Raymond Clark III’s guilty plea to the murder and sexual assault of Annie Le GRD ’13 signals the coming end of criminal proceedings — and uneasy closure for the Yale community.

Clark, who accepted punishment for attempted sexual assault without admitting his guilt under the Alford Doctrine, is tentatively set to be sentenced on June 3 and is ineligible for parole. Although members of the Yale community expressed relief that Clark will avoid a high-profile trial for the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13 under a plea bargain announced last Thursday, some question whether his 44-year prison sentence is too lenient.

The Yale administration issued a response to Clark’s guilty plea on Thursday through the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, but University President Richard Levin expressed his own thoughts on the case Monday night.

“I’m glad it’s over, and I hope the family can take comfort that the matter is resolved,” he said, declining to comment on the details of Clark’s sentence.

Thomas Pollard, dean of the Graduate School, also declined to comment on the case’s outcome, but said in an email to the News that he is relieved that the case will not “get dragged out in court.”

Like Levin and Pollard, two medical school students interviewed said they are relieved that the legal proceedings will end early. One of these students, Camille Hardiman GRD ’13, said in an email that avoiding a trial will spare Le’s family and minimize the release of any “horrific details.”

“Even the hearing for the plea bargain revealed pretty graphic details, things that we don’t need to hear any more about,” Hardiman said. “Let him start serving his time already.”

One member of the medical school faculty said he is particularly troubled by newly revealed details of sexual assault. He also questioned why none of the faculty who had worked with Le were ever informed of these facts before Thursday’s hearing. The faculty member said he ultimately defers to the Le family’s wishes — state prosecutors consulted with her family and fiancée during the plea bargain process — but added that he is personally troubled by the deal.

“It just bothered me — 44 years,” he said. “How do you compare years to Annie’s life? And then you have this added component [of attempted sexual assault]. I just feel terrible for her family.”

The faculty member said he had met Le, but requested to remain anonymous, citing professional considerations.

Because Clark pleaded guilty to both murder and sexual assault, suggesting a motive for the crime, the guilty plea has reduced the fears of random murder on Yale’s campus, said Evan Wilson-Wallis, who works in a medical school lab.

“If he had a motive, then I feel more comfortable that some random stranger isn’t going to kill me,” Wilson-Wallis said. “I feel safer around campus.”

Three other students and staff members interviewed expressed dissatisfaction with the length of Clark’s sentence.

Deanna Roderick, an administrative assistant at the medical school, said she thinks it is too lenient.

“I feel like he probably had a really good lawyer,” Roderick said.

Clark was represented by public defenders Beth Merkin and Joseph Lopez. Merkin told the News after the guilty plea that she believed her client could not have received a better sentence than 44 years in prison, and that he probably would have fared worse in a criminal trial.

Clark was employed as lab technician at 10 Amistad St., the same Yale building where Le worked.

Comments

  • WillyLomein

    If you commit a capital felony, there should be no getting out of jail, ever. He savagely beat, sexually assaulted, and strangled one of our peers. The question should be how much current to run through his body, and the perversity of forcing her friends and colleagues to work in YARC alongside his evidently supportive fiancee.

  • Mr_ni6htmare

    Im not from yale i live in oklahoma, ive watch this on cbs ever since it was viewed i woke up one morning in seen that dude that host cbs that catch child pedophiles siting in home’s from glancing from the kitchen all the time , he was the one interviewing raymond clark , the case got interesting, i kno if u get interviewed by that host you suspect of something. he was asking clark question n clark seem like he was nervous n scared n shaking on the 5 am interview nationwide that was last time i heard clark voice. any thing i say doent stay on comment very long cuz i tell the truth
    clark did a lot of felony , if he was in oklahoma, he would got lock up fo life, i read some of clark document’s , he got charge with ”second degree assault”, back in december, in le case he should got charge with ‘maiming’ is when u mess up someone body structure fo life ”from breaking le bone’s that carry a life sentence .the examiner said she was alive when this happend 44 year’s is not enough ” assault n battery get u 8 years in oklahoma by it self clark also should get charge with ”’anlawfully moving a decease corpse” he should also get charge with ”rape” eve n puting your penis on someone is sexual battery…reason y clark got less time cuz everyone said he was crazy,and he said he didnt kno le only fo less time, i dont understand where was everyone in the school, as le was screaming fo help or y didnt anyone hear the crime’s goin on ,how come if clark had blood splatter in car and the kitchen how come his girlfriend didnt say nothing bout it ,how come his girlfriend still love clark even if he had sex with another girl crazy and ignorant .

  • Mr_ni6htmare

    A capital crime is one in which a person can be executed after due process. A homicide falls into basically 3 groups clark should got charge with capital murder just cuz he got no background he get a happy grammer fo being a abercombie boy with flip flops on

    he sexually assault le was kidnapped from her space of working in strangled n assaulted and if she was dead or alive was tooking to a basement upside down decease
    no way he should get 44 years that is MURDER 3 DEGREE

  • Mr_ni6htmare

    I AGREE WITH WILLY

  • Mr_ni6htmare

    one more comment im not goin take up no more space
    they got a video on youtube of one of the show
    capture raymond clark and his girlfriend packing up
    the girlfriend of raymond clark must known bout the case of clark
    murdering annie le to agree to pack everything after clark got confronted by fbi of withdrawling his dna to them that something fishy n clark’s whole family work in the yale lab with him where was they at the whole day or that week .

  • pepe

    Clark’s family and girlfriend have stood by him all along. The truth is not out there folks. The media are spin artists/justice officials are politicians and fools. Clark plead guilty via the Alford Doctrine, which indicates he believed that a jury would convict him upon the known evidence, and likely give him a death sentence. He does not admit he killed her, nor does the statement of his family. They are playing this strategically, carefully chosen words. But the statement of the family does give us a clue to what likely occurred. According to that statement, Clark feels responsible for the girl’s death, which may or likely does mean that he was in a position to prevent it. His girlfriend stands by him, so we can reasonably conclude that he was not the killer. It stands to reason then that he has an idea of who the killer or killers were. Perhaps then it is also safer for him and his family that he remain in prison under a murder sentence. That is the only thing that makes sense at this point.

  • student

    No, pepe. His family stood by him because they probably genuinely cannot see their son doing such a horrible thing, and we cannot expect to understand a grieving parents’ actions. His fiancee is another story. She is just as bad as Ray is, in my opinion. I pity her soul. I really do. Yet we continue to have to work alongside her, which is a constant reminder of the horrible pain that was “caused” by the one she loves so dearly. For me, just seeing her instantly brings me pangs of nausea. But that’s irrelevant right now. Regarding your opinion about Clark’s innocence: There is no way. Even if he had been present as a witness, there would be no reason for his SEMEN to be present on the body of Annie Le. There’s no need to even discuss the entire mountain of physical evidence that has been collected against him and only him. For someone else to have committed the murder, and it all to fall on Raymond Clark, would be a fantastic set up job that even a professional probably couldn’t pull off.
    The most important part to point out, though, is that he pleaded guilty to murder, period, and guilty to attempted sexual assault via the Alford doctrine. That, to me, could really just mean two things. One, that he attempted to rape her and insertion never occurred because she fought like the hero we know she was, or that he raped her and does not want to admit to it outright, so took the cowardly way of pleading to it, which is the Alford Doctrine. Either one would make sense to me. And either way, each scenario leads to him killing her in the end, which he did plead guilty to outright.

  • Goober

    I just don`t get it

  • Goober

    He used an access keycard, which few people have, to get into a room where she was. So if we are to believe this was a spontaneous sexual assault, that spiraled into murder, (let me clarify, it is obvious he murdered her), what are we supposed to imagine… He just happened upon her in that room and couldn`t control himself…….. and he apparently didn`t know that his keycard entry was recorded. That`s a ridiculous idea, but people seem to be content with it. The guy had a life and didn`t want to lose his freedom, like any person wouldn`t. They also say strangulation is personal. So this was a very personal issue. He also emailed her before they met. Why would she go and meet a crazy stranger in the basement of the building…… No one wants to answer these questions or think about them.

  • student

    no, no, I do not imagine that he just “happened upon her”. I think it was targeted. We just don’t know why, and probably never will. That is, unless he makes some sort of statement about it at the sentencing. Yes, he had a life and didn’t want to lose his freedom, but that is why he acted so irrationally after the murder, running around scanning his bard without even thinking. It all occurred within two hours of her entering the building, so you know it was immediately after he killed her that he was frantically running around. I can’t imagine anyone thinking clearly about the consequences of one’s actions at a time such as that. I’m sure he was kicking himself in his sorry little behind once he calmed down. he knew that every step he was taking was damning him even more. He knew there was no way out. It’s obvious.

    Also, she wasn’t just going and meeting some stranger in the basement of a building. This shows you have no connection to Yale whatsoever and have no idea what you are talking about. The mouse facility is located in the basement level of the Amistad building, and dozens of scientists go in and out of it on a daily basis to do their work, Annie included. YARC techinicians, like Ray Clark, work down there and go in and out of the individual mouse rooms, tending to the mice and their cages. It is incredibly common while someone is down there for a technician to come into the room while you are doing your experiments. He may have “asked her there”, but not necessarily as you are thinking. We scientists get emails from the technicians if we have to tend to a cage that they are not allowed to touch, or if something is time-sensitive, etc. Many reasons. So he very well may have just sent her an email telling her she needs to wean some of her mice pups, and she came over. We don’t know. he could have lured her over on purpose with some false claim with some intent. We don’t know. But don’t assume that nobody is thinking about this and that nobody cares. That’s clearly not the case, and you have no idea because you are not here.

  • Goober

    I agree I am not there, student. You have outed me as someone who has only learned about this from what I could glean from the media, which I assume has been fairly reliable as to the basic details. Nonetheless, I appreciate your insights as someone who has personally walked those hallways and knows the relationship between students and technicians.

    He sent her an email, and then they met there shortly after. A lot of people say we shouldn’t speculate, but then, why don’t the police release the content of the text message between them, and any other correspondence they had, in order to end the speculations? If indeed, their correspondence is about cages and mouse pups, then there really is nothing to hide, and rather much to gain by releasing that information. Looking at the Amanda Knox case (I know it’s a different country), it seems like a lot more stuff got released to the media. OJ Simpson too, the public was allowed to know every lurid detail. In the Annie Le case, it seems that the powers that be were so desperate to avoid a trial where details like the content of those messages would come out, that Clark was given 44 years and allowed to more or less say he is not guilty of rape, though he IS guilty of murder. Anyway, if I were part of the Yale community, maybe I’d feel a sort of moral gag on this whole thing, but it seems immoral to have people throughout America fearing they could be killed at work for leaving a bag of mouse food out. A lot of people had their worldview transformed by this case. The release of those emails and texts someday would do much to make sense of this crime to people. People, as far as I know them, don’t commit “senseless” crimes about mouse food after using their keycard to enter a very heavily surveilled building. Sorry, that’s not the world I know.

  • student

    Goober, I definitely understand where you’re coming from. It would make you feel better to know some details, especially the content of the emails. However, the only thing I’d like to clarify for you from your last message is that the “powers that be” were not controlling what was being released. It was the desperate pleas of Annie’s family to respect and honor her memory and not the horrifying details of her death. The prosecutor and the Yale/New Haven police/FBI have been incredibly respectful of those wishes, and have kept a cap on most information because of it. It isn’t Yale that is trying to keep it quiet, or the police, or anyone except a desperate grieving family that the whole world empathizes with and wishes to comfort. That’s all.

    For what it’s worth, I do not think it was because she left out a bag of food, or anything menial for that matter. I do believe this was a crime of passion, and we don’t know why, but for some reason he targeted her. I’m ok not knowing, partly because I knew and respected her, but also because i feel for her family, and want them to be satisfied with the level of privacy that they are asking for. All I need to know is that he admitted to it and will never make it out of jail in his better years (or, if we’re lucky, maybe not ever at all– a babyface boy like him who committed such a heinous crime, the boys will have a ball with him). I don’t think that everyone should fear the people who they work with because of this. please don’t let this transform your world view. Rape and strangulation isn’t just something that happens with someone that annoys you at work. It’s more than that.

  • pepe

    I would guess that they found traces of his semen in the lab, but that doesn’t make him guilty of any illicit sexual contact or murder. Remember, his girlfriend also worked in the lab, there was privacy, but two and two together. Also, let’s not fool ourselves into believing forensic evidence cannot be manipulated, gotten wrong, or even fabricated. The girlfriend stands behind him, and there was no admittance of murder or assault. So it’s a huge stretch to believe he did it. Also recall that there was an attempt abduct Ms Lee (somebody was trying to force her into a car) just prior to her murder. My theory remains that Widawsky has something to do with the murder, and that Clark plead guilty via the Alford Doctrine because it was his best option under the unfortunately circumstances. But everything is just a theory with regard to this case. We have no solid confirmation of the truth of anything that has been reported, so relying on it and saying “case closed” is just an attempt to spin the truth.

  • another_student

    I am sorry to say that, pepe, but you just do not make an impression of an intelligent person. I regret that student had to go to great lengths to explain you why things happened the way they did. Indeed, your inability to process common sense information may signify progressing retardation. Perhaps, it would be better for you to focus on something useful, rather than to trash the YDN chat room with your paranoiac, hallucinogenic theories.

  • student

    pepe, his semen was ON THE BODY. ok, some evidence may be manipulated in some rare cases, but come on. She would have had to remove her own panties, rub herself on this random semen on the wall or wherever you think it was in order for that to happen the way you say. There is a mountain of evidence against him. If someone was framing him, they would have to be such a clean professional at it in order to fool not just the Yale and New Haven police, but the best of the FBI.

    Now, your theory that Jon had something to do with it is really just so outlandish I am tempted to not even address it, but because I care about him, I must elaborate. The Amistad basement is accessible with YALE ID only. Also, the person who did this obviously knows their way around, including all the wall panels and rooms that people rarely access in order to stash her body while he found an ideal hiding place. For Jon to take the time, scope out the basement, come across a Yale ID somehow, then frame Ray Clark for the job is… well, it’s crazy. Just crazy. You’re telling me you believe this theory, but you can’t possibly believe the case that is so clear cut and done? He is an ADMITTED murderer and a cowardly rapist, since he still won’t admit to that part. How can you not believe that he did it, when he openly admitted it, not only to the public, but definitely to his family from day 1 (see the family’s statement for proof on this)?

    And as far as your theory that someone tried to abduct her in a car… There were a lot of untrue stories that I saw came out, but this one is a first for me. Let me tell you now, this never happened. Trust me. I knew Annie well and we would have known about this for sure! There was a robbery in a nearby parking lot a couple weeks before Sept 8, but it was 100% unrelated.

    To me, having someone who has such damning evidence against him (and loads of it) actually ADMIT to the murder, NOT THROUGH THE ALFORD DOCTRINE (get your facts straight), is about as “case closed” as it gets for me. Especially that his family also admits that he confessed from day 1 is just another confirmation to me that there is no way it wasn’t him. It’s done, pepe, you have to understand that.