Yale Suspect Played Softball as Search for Annie Ended

By LeAnne Gendreau, Diana Perez and Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Sep 18, 2009  |  Updated 2:51 PM CDT
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<a title=Yale lab tech Raymond Clark III was arraigned Thursday morning for the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le. He is due back in court in October." />

Yale lab tech Raymond Clark III was arraigned Thursday morning for the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le. He is due back in court in October.

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Yale Community Reacts to Arrest in Annie Le Murder Case

The New Haven Police chief and the Yale University president talk about the Annie Le murder after Raymond Clark's arraignment.
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The lab tech charged with killing Yale grad student Annie Le and hiding her body in a campus wall was a "control freak" who was playing softball a few miles away even as authorities came to the grim end of their six-day search for her body. 

Police have been mum on the exact nature of the forensic evidence they used to get an arrest warrant for Raymond Clark III, but a picture has emerged of the 24-year-old as a sandlot jock and workplace tyrant. One official told the AP that Clark's Yale co-workers told police the tech who tended to laboratory mice was a "control freak" even with scientists and doctoral students at the Ivy League school.

Clark, whose fiancee, sister and brother-in-law all work for Yale as animal lab technicians, would get angry if lab workers did not wear shoe covers, The New York Times reported.

"He would make a big deal of it, instead of just requesting that they wear them," said a researcher who asked to remain anonymous.

ABC News reported that Clark sent a text message to Le on the day she vanished requesting a meeting to discuss the cleanliness of mouse cages in the research lab.

Le's body was discovered Sunday, the day she was to be wed, in a duct in the basement of a university lab where she and the tech both worked. The would-be bride was strangled, the coroner said.

On that day, Clark had been playing softball with his all-men’s league at East Shore Park in New Haven, about three and a half miles away from the Yale building where police say he crammed Le’s body .

Police had started trailing Clark on Saturday, according to the New Haven Independent, but they were doing it covertly until Monday. It's likely no one among the dozens of people at the park even noticed the plainclothes sleuths as they shadowed Clark.

Walter Faulkner, president of the New Haven Umpire Association, said Clark was a newcomer to the all-men’s league. He had just joined this year and played on a team called the Wild Hogs. He said thhe former high school athlete held his own on the diamond, and demonstrated none of the traits that rankled people he worked with.

"We never had an issue with him. We really never had an issue with any of the players," Faulkner said.

The Rev. Dennis Smith, a Le family spokesman, said he was not authorized to comment on the arrest and did not know whether Le had ever complained about Clark.

Clark is being held in a maximum-security lockup in Suffield, Conn. on $3 million bond after his arrest early Thursday. In announcing the arrest, New Haven Police Chief James Lewis cited "numerous interviews, forensic evidence and information learned from reviewing video surveillance" as incriminating Clark. Police said Friday that this is the only arrest they plan to make.

Authorities characterized the slaying the result of "workplace violence," but would not discuss a motive. They don't believe that they'll need to establish one when Clark goes to trial because they have an abundance of strong forensic evidence, the official said.

They would also not disclose the DNA test results or how they connected Clark to the crime. The arrest warrant is sealed for 14 days, according to court papers.

Lt. John Bernard of the New Haven Community Correctional Center, where Clark was held before being transferred to the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, told the News that Clark appeared “somber.”

“It's his first time in jail,” he said. “This is all new to him. He hasn't cried. He hasn't said a word to anyone.”

Cops began zeroing in on the lab tech earlier this week after he reportedly failed lie detector tests and couldn't explain scratch marks he had on his body.

Clark is due back in court on Oct. 6. 

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