Raymond Clark III sentenced to 44 years

UPDATED: 11:10 p.m. This afternoon, Raymond Clark III, the man convicted of the murder and sexual assault of Annie Le GRD ’13, was sentenced to 44 years in prison.

Clark’s sentence comes almost 21 months after he killed Le on September 8, 2009 in 10 Amistad St., the research building where they both worked. At the sentencing in New Haven Superior Court, Clark spoke publicly about his crimes for the first time. Family members of Le and of the defendant were present in the courtroom and many members of both families were visibly distraught and crying. Clark’s father and five family members of Le delivered statements expressing deep sadness at the crimes committed. Near the end of the delivery of his own statement at the end of the proceeding, Clark expressed remorse and turned toward about 15 members of Le’s family to directly apologize.

“I stand here today taking full responsibility for my actions,” Clark said, struggling through the statement as he teared up. “I am truly, truly sorry for taking Annie’s life.”

Members of Le’s family delivered statements at the beginning of the proceeding. Le’s family expressed deep anguish concerning the crimes Clark committed, recalling memories of the events surrounding her murder in September 2009 and how the loss has affected them since. Le family members said they had difficulty dealing with the hardship caused by the murder and that they have struggled to bring closure to the incident. Indeed, although the sentencing brought the criminal proceedings against Clark to an end, court battles over Le’s death could continue, with the family considering a civil suit, potentially against Yale.

Le’s mother, Vivian Le, composed herself following opening remarks made by Prosecutor John Waddock in order to deliver the family’s first statement. At one point during the delivery, she addressed Clark directly.

“You took away my only daughter,” Vivian said. “Her future is gone, her life is gone. Society has lost a beautiful woman. My family has lost a beautiful soul.”

A doctoral student at the Department of Pharmacology, Le was first reported missing on September 8, 2009. Her body was found by police behind a wall in the basement of 10 Amistad St. five days later –– the day she was to be married. DNA, keycard and video evidence eventually led federal, state and local police investigators to Clark, a lab technician who worked in the building. Though he initially pled not guilty to charges of murder and felony murder, Clark changed his plea to guilty this past March as part of a plea bargain.

In his opening remarks, Waddock said that though at first the sentence was not entirely satisfactory to the prosecution or defense, both sides eventually came to accept it. He reminded those present in the courtroom of the significance of the 44 year sentence, explaining that Clark would remain in prison for the majority of his life. Individuals serving time for murder in Connecticut are not eligible for parole.

Still, some members of Le’s family expressed disappointment with the sentence at the proceeding, saying they thought Clark deserved more jail time. Le’s uncle, Tuyet Bui, said he thought Clark’s life deserved to be taken away, and that at the very least he wished the Court would sentence him to life in prison.

“I must speak up today and state emphatically that I feel as though Annie’s life has been and will be further denigrated and defiled if this Court renders a decision which calls for anything less than the very life of the man who raped, brutalized, and murdered her,” Bui said during the proceeding.

Le’s brother, Chris, said that though no punishment is capable of making him feel better about the situation, he does hope Clark can realize the “totality of his actions.”

Delivering the final words of the sentencing, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano said that no amount of time will ever compensate for the loss of Annie Le.

“Closure is not a likely scenario,” Fasano said, adding, “This defendant is going to pay for this crime every day of his existence.”

After the sentencing, Joseph Tacopina, the attorney for Le’s parents, addressed the press in front of the court house and recognized the possibility of a civil suit, acknowledging that Yale could potentially face a lawsuit if it were proven security was inadequate at the time of Le’s death. He added that he and the family are determined to ensure all of those responsible for Le’s death “in any way, shape, or form” are held accountable. He declined to say with certainty whether the family would file a lawsuit or who they may pursue a suit against, but did say that if an investigation determines Le’s death could have been prevented, the family would consider taking further legal action.

Upon his release from prison, Clark will be 70.

Comments

  • The Anti-Yale

    “I take full responsibility . . . ”

    No one can “take responsibility: for the taking of another human being’s life. Such a statement itself is hubris.

    The taking of life is blasphemy, unspeakable blasphemy against the miraculous power of Creation. It is the destructive madness of Chaos.

  • nudelman

    What is Yale doing about the ultimate hostile work environment that it has fostered? What about his relatives and girlfriend all working within the same department? What about the hostility of those who work in the Animal Care toward those these people are supposed to served? Does Yale take responsibilities for these failings?

  • The Anti-Yale

    Stop this “guilt-by-association” rhetoric. Leave the unfortunates alone.

  • inycepoo

    I’m more than happy that this guy got 44 years behind bars for what he did, but the fact that the prosecutor “[acknowledged] that Yale could potentially face a lawsuit if it were proven security was inadequate at the time of Le’s death” pisses me off. Please shut the hell up. You earned righteous money for once fighting this case for Le’s family, and I think that’s enough to keep you sustained for a bit, no? How “adequate” should security have been at the time when the murder happened? The New Haven Police Department and Yale University Police do enough already just trying to keep the university safe from the people IN New Haven, let alone aggressive ones within the school itself. Yale is situated in the 4th most dangerous city (2011 rankings) and very little crimes and such happen on campus already. I don’t see how they could have more adequate security, with understaffed departments and emergency buttons everywhere on campus already. Hindsight’s 20/20, damn it. No one saw this coming; no one knew he would snap. Get off your high horse (like you know so much about security), and move on. Justice has been served already. Stop trying to make something out of nothing, Mr. Tacopina. Stop being an opportunistic feeder on the anger and despair of a destroyed family. Another lawsuit is not going to bring back Annie, only more painful memories for her family. (And also more money for you, obviously.)

  • townieexprof

    To inycepoo:
    Joe Tacopina was not the prosecutor. He was hired privately by the Le family. The prosecutors worked closely with Tacopina to get a good result. Part of the good result was that the family would not come out of the courthouse after sentencing screaming about miscarried justice. Mission accomplished.

    This means Tacopina already knows a lot about the strengths weaknesses of a possible lawsuit against Yale. Now with this phase resolved, he can go about issuing subpoenas without worry of influencing the criminal trial.
    SInce the prosecutors worked with the family to avoid a trial, they cut a deal to sentence to 44 years.
    THe family gets to avoid a drawn out criminal trail which would daily release horrible details of the violent murder and sexual assault (now, with hints that the sequence of those assaults were in question). This is a win win.
    Now the family and Tacopina can devote their time and energy to preventing this happening again, like they said:
    “He added that he and the family are determined to ensure all of those responsible for Le’s death “in any way, shape, or form” are held accountable. and “if an investigation determines Le’s death could have been prevented, the family would consider taking further legal action.”

    I think the family is for sure taking the high road here and trying to create some meaning in this senseless tragedy–if heightened security here at Yale and similar institutions get revised because of a high profile and costly lawsuit, that would be a good thing, right? SOmetimes it takes a painful and costly lawsuit to get large institutions to resolve their inertia about major issues.

    Like with the DOE TItile IX issue, in case you hadnt been following the news.

  • Quals

    Yeah, nudelman, stop saying bad stuff about ray-ray’s fiancée still working at Yale. The person you love and are engaged to does not say anything about your values and who you are as a person. Eva Braun, for instance, charming woman.

  • Quals

    And, for that matter, I wouldn’t see anything wrong about Eva Braun, working at, say, the gift shop of a Holocaust memorial, would you? What did she have to do with it?

  • student

    quals exhibits exactly my sentiments.

    She does not have the decency enough to spare us that trauma by going elsewhere. I am sure that these jobs are plentiful at other institutions, or she can get another job doing menial work somewhere else. It’s not like she has skills. She is completely uneducated and so it’s not like she has a select field to stay in that she is trained in. Go clean toilets somewhere and spare us all, please.

    I was very affected by this story, as most students at Yale were. But I more than most. It is physically painful and traumatic every single time I see Jennifer Hromadka, even to this day, which is more occasionally now that it is nice out and she eats lunch at the tables at Cappuchino’s. She’s out there around noon every day that it is sunny and nice.

    My guess is that she enjoys the attention. She enjoys the pain she causes. She’s exactly like him, which is what drew them together in the first place. There’s no other reason to do the things she does, to continue to cause us pain and renew our wounds on a daily basis.

    And Anti-Yale, we are absolutely entitled to these beliefs. She knew from day 1 that Ray Clark was lying. That is a fact now. It has been admitted outright. You can’t defend her anymore. She played along with the cover up. She may not be part of the investigation, meaning that she may not have played a part in concealing evidence, but even Ray’s father admitted that Ray was truthful at least to them from day 1 about what he had done. That he was a lying murderer. Yet she still continued to come to work every day and see those of us who suffered through this, living in fear, wondering if he worked alone… wondering what was going on… was there more to fear? and she sat back probably laughing at us. what an inexplicable witch she is.

    She is not “an innocent” by any means. not at all.

    and she doesn’t even have the decency to walk away form this man, despite the fact that he brutalized, raped, and strangled to death an very tiny innocent woman, even though they were ENGAGED. what kind of woman doesn’t take a stand against that??? A woman with no self-respect and a woman with no respect for those that experienced actual loss and trauma from that event. Who knows, maybe even a woman that enjoys that kind of stuff. Maybe she gets off on it. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Maybe one of these days I will say something to her face. But who knows. Maybe she’d kill me next time I’m alone in my mouse room. Or have her next scumbag boyfriend do it for her. You gotta wonder…

  • student

    and speaking of responsibility. He did not take full responsibility. Not at all. not for one second.

    He SAYS that he does so he can feel better about himself, and his lovely parents can go on being proud of him and how heroic he is for murdering this little woman and getting caught for it.

    Taking responsibility is not stuffing a body in a wall. Taking responsibility is not going to play baseball while her friends, family, and fiance frantically wonder where she is, and can’t eat, sleep or function for fear of what could have (and did) happened. Taking responsibility is not scrubbing floors, walls, and drains to remove any trace of blood and semen you left behind. Taking responsibility is not lying about it for over a year, trying to still get away with it by pleading not guilty. Please, people, don’t be fooled by his statements. He is a coward through and through. And quite frankly, so are his parents and his fiancee for not being able to see him for what he is, which is nothing short of a diabolical maniac.

    Most of all, taking responsibility is not pleading guilty to sexual assault via the Alford Doctrine, claiming that you did not in fact commit the crime that you are accused of, even though there is plenty of evidence against you for it. So even in the end, when he had the choice, he still decided to not take responsibility. He still decided to not give Annie’s family the respect they deserved by admitting to what he had done.

  • student

    i also wonder the same thing nudelman does. What is Yale now going to do about this, now that their lie about workplace violence is exposed?

  • The Anti-Yale

    student,

    You are absolutely entitled to any belief you care to have. The energy of your vindictiveness is what troubles me, and in the long run, is what will trouble you.

    “An unforgiving nature breeds misery in its own heart, not that of its enemy.” (Creon in Oedipus Rex)

    PK

  • student

    I absolutely agree with you, Anti-Yale. It troubles me, too, sometimes. I would not call it vindictiveness, though. More like… the energy of my distaste in the situation. I do not seek revenge. I seek peace. Peace for those of us that loved Annie, not for those that placate murderers. And if I do so with vigor, then so be it. I do try not to let it get the best of me, I promise.

    However, until the day that any one of those people feel an ounce of [i]true[/i] remorse, my forgiveness will not be extended to them. I will gladly offer it should Ray, or any of these people, many many years from now, feel truly repentant. But like I said before in a different article, it is not the crime for which Ray is remorseful. It is that he was caught. Until he sees that, I shall not offer him my precious forgiveness. And until the day where WE get the respect we deserve, as the people Annie left behind, I will not let this woman (Hromadka) stand in my midst with my mouth closed like a drone.

    I will not physically remove her, but I will not take it lying down, without dissatisfaction and upset.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Let he who is without sin . . .

  • student

    well, you can judge all you want, anti-yale, but that’s not very Christ-like either, so…

  • The Anti-Yale

    Not judging. Certainly not invoking a deity. Just arching my back at the vehemence.

  • The_Lorax

    Oy, Nazi references? Bible-thumping? You know the level of discourse has deteriorated beyond salvation once that’s happened.

    What hasn’t come out is: Why? Why did he do this? Once we know that, we can assess what Yale could have done differently. Perhaps every employee and student should have a personal escort 24/7. Psychological profiling to identifiy the psychopaths. We can become a educational prison that the endowment and tuition can pay for so that people can be safe around the clock. Of course there won’t be much money for anything else. So we wait until the next earthquake/terrorism/crazy person/tsunami/tornado etc. occurs and then guess what, Yale’s responsible for that too??? That all makes lots of sense.

    Plus, Let’s just point out that it is the security systems Yale has in place (at great expense) that contributed in large part of the mountain of evidence against this guy and allowed for the speedy arrest and conviction. What if we didn’t have that? What if everyone just used keys? What if some idiot who was unloading his car had propped the door open or taped over the door contact and there was no data? This happens all the time, just thankfully not in this case. Do those people have blood on their hands? Do they care? How can an institution be responsible for an individual’s action?

    Life is imperfect, people. Our cushy American lifestyle and marketing brainwashing frequently deludes us to the contrary, but life sucks. Tragedies will happen and often there are no answers for the grieving. Tragedies are going on all around us, all the time. Suing and angry outbursts are welcome distractions, but it won’t give you any more answers about why this happened or alleviate the grieving.

  • student

    Until you have grieved as those of us who loved Annie have, you cannot presume to tell us what will alleviate our grief. Please spare us the self-righteousness.

    An institution can very well be responsible, for a number of reasons. Please do not be deluded by the babbling of Sharon Kugler or Richard Levin. They are trying to save Yale’s reputation. I don’t blame them, that’s their job, but buying into it is just as stupid as putting complete blame on an institution as opposed to the individual responsible for this crime. Both extremes are dangerous and show a lack of logic.

  • The_Lorax

    It’s not self-righteousness, it is experience. I’ve been grieving for a long time about another tragedy and all I have concluded is that there are no answers. Anger, as I say, is a distraction.

    I’m not buying into public pronouncements to the point of delusion, I simply know that Yale has an extremely dedicated and effective group of employees who care deeply about security and safety on campus. I would not malign their efforts as being a public relations exercise when in fact they are very very good at their jobs.

  • student

    no, anger is a part of grieving.

  • Sad_Randy

    Student makes many good points. rc3 gf is not innocent. Has anyone ever wonder why he accepted the plea deal? Because he cares about Annie’s extended family and the hurt which a trial would cause? Let’s be serious. The truth is that there were two people in that room. Sadly, one is gone (the wrong one). The other is a lying coward, who instead of saying “what have I done”, decided to try to get away with it. In court, he could have said anything. The death penalty (althought uncommonly used in CT) was looming. So, he could have said anything to avoid it. “It was not rape as Annie and I were more than co-workers. When she said no that particular day, she hit me as my advancements continued. I lost control, I hit her. I never meant to kill her. ” I’m pretty sure his plead for understanding, gets him out of having a needle put into his arm. So why take the deal? How about this? “rc3, we know you did it and you know you did it. We also know that your gf helped you move the body and clean the lab to cover up the crime. She is an accessory!!! You, my dear scumbag, can save her from rotting in prison and being raped by a broomstick handle by taking a deal.”

    I worry. I worry for the people who study at Yale and people like Student who are forced to deal with this situation. Yale is asking for more trouble and not the kind which the Le family will bring upon them. The kind they refuse to deal with themselves. I am not anti-Yale, but in the business world there are ways of dealing with these delicate situations. This is not unresolveable. Yale should want to clean up their reputation and create an environment which potential students would like to attend.

    Lastly, rc3 did not take responsibility for anything. In fact, you can see where he gets it from. His father! His father has the ordacity to use the word “proud” while talking about his son and his actions? R U F’n KM? Pops, how about trying something like this on… “I aplologize to all of Annie’s family, friends, professors, and most of all her fiancee. It is hard to believe my son could do something so horrible. Mr. & Mrs. Le, Aunt and Uncle of Annie, I apologize as unlike you, I failed as a parent. Each day which he will spend in prison will serve as a reminder to me that I failed at the most important responsibility I had when my son was born and now I know I have to work even harder to be sure I am a better parent for my daughter.”

    P.S. Student – I hope that after the sadness lessens, which gives way to anger which will also diminish, I hope that you will think about the things which Annie did in life and it will make you only smile.

  • joey00

    meow..”Student”‘s meow

  • WriteResponsibly

    Says The_Lorax: “I simply know that Yale has an extremely dedicated and effective group of employees who care deeply about security and safety on campus”.

    Your unconditional praise of those employees is greatly undermined by the very fact of the presence of the hostile working environment on campus. Yes, there may be physical security, but it is not enough to guarantee safety of the students. Recent developments clearly show that Yale’s anti-harassment policies were f…ed up and that women were treated as the objects of sexual satisfaction. Had Yale made it clear from the start to everyone employed or enrolled that no advances, no matter how small, would be tolerated, the tragedy would not have happened.

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  • joey00

    Ray said ,”He was only about to give her a ride” , Well we sure came a long way in regards to police work and police investigation – still have quite a ways to go though.The multiple police agencies on this case nabbed and convicted this sick sneak ..Remember the Political Science Major who they just took for a ride and dropped off ten years ago ?

  • VoiceofTruth

    44 years??? That’s kind of ridiculous. There’s evidence to suggest that Annie Le had led him on. That makes her partially responsible, just like if two people are speeding and get into an accident, both are responsible to some extent for the damages. Don’t get me wrong, I think he should get jail time, but maybe 22 years instead of 44. If she’s there at work every day, leading him on and enticing him, it is unreasonable to punish him just because he did what anyone would do in that situation. The family of Le should issue an apology to Clark, just like Clark’s family issued an apology to the Le family.

  • The Anti-Yale

    “There’s evidence to suggest that Annie Le had led him on. ”

    Cite your evidence please.

  • JR88

    VoiceofTruth: You’re an idiot. Where’s your evidence that Annie Le “led him on”? There is none. Even if a girl does lead a guy on, that doesn’t give him the right to brutually murder her. He’s a coward who’s lucky he didn’t get the death penalty, which he deserves. The Le family doesn’t have to apologize for anything. They’re not the ones who raised their kid to be a scumbag like Raymond. Why do I get the feeling if you trace the IP address for VoiceofTruth it’ll lead right back to someone from the Clark family or one of his friends and supporters…

  • chomskyreader

    I don’t think the prosecutor should have done a plea bargain in this case in order to “protect” the Le family from the horrific details of the murder. They already know about most of those details. The one who has the most to be embarrassed about is Ray Clark, and having all of those details brought up would make him squirm in front of all of his his family and other supporters who could see and hear the mountain of evidence against him. And if there were any evidence of him getting “led on” by Annie Le, his defense attorney would have his chance to show such evidence during a trial (yeah right, the classy PhD student really had nothing better to do with her spare time). The trial would be a chance to underscore what a coward and scumbag the assailant really was, without any second guessing posed by trolls later on.