(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- On Thursday morning in a Connecticut courtroom, with his entire family looking on, Raymond Clark III pled guilty to the murder and sexual assault of Yale University graduate student Annie Le.
Clark, 26, had been accused of strangling the 24-year-old Le just days before her wedding in September of 2009.
Clark entered the plea under an agreement with prosecutors and will receive a sentence of 44 years. He had been charged with murder and felony murder, each carrying a possible sentence of 25-60 years.
Le's body was found stuffed behind a research laboratory wall on Sept. 13, 2009, five days after she had last been seen inside the Yale medical building. Clark, an animal research assistant who worked in the same facility, was arrested by police Sept. 17 and charged with the murder. When he initially met with investigators, Clark had scratches on his face and left arm -- marks that he claimed came from a cat. But in court, prosecutors cited voluminous amounts of evidence from the crime scene that tied Clark to the murder. This included a bloody sock found in the wall that contained both Clark and Le's DNA as well as a lab coat in the laundry bin that also contained both their DNA. A green ink pen was found under Le's body that had her blood and Clark's DNA.
Police said that Clark signed into the secure building using a green pen the day Le went missing. Video footage taken from the building showed that Clark changed his clothes on the day the murder was alleged to have taken place.
Outside the courtroom Thursday, Clark's father Raymond Clark Jr., said, "It is a heavy heart that I stand here before you today. We will live out our life knowing that he is behind bars. But we are proud of Ray for taking responsibility for his actions and pleading guilty. I want you to know that Ray has expressed extreme remorse from the very beginning. I can't tell you how many times he sobbed uncontrollably, telling me how sorry he is; telling me how his heart is tortured by the reality the he caused the death of Annie."
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