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Annie Le slay suspect pleads not guilty

Raymond Clark III stands with his lawyers during

Raymond Clark III stands with his lawyers during an arraignment at the New Haven Superior Court in connection with the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le. (Sept. 17, 2009) Photo Credit: Pool File

Four months after Annie Le was found dead, an animal research technician charged with killing the Yale graduate student has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Raymond Clark III, 24, entered his plea Tuesday morning in Superior Court in New Haven, Conn., said one of Clark's public defender attorneys, Joseph Lopez.

"He entered a not guilty plea," Lopez told Newsday.

Clark also waived his right to a probable cause hearing, at which prosecutors would have to prove they have enough evidence to justify the murder charge.

PHOTOS: Yale student slain before LI wedding

Also Tuesday, Clark was hit with an additional charge of felony murder. A person can be convicted of felony murder if a victim dies while certain felonies are being committed, such as rape and violent assault - even if the offender didn't intend for the victim to die.

Clark is accused of killing Le, 24, of Placerville, Calif. Her body was found behind a Yale research lab wall in September, on the day she was to marry a Huntington man, Jonathan Widawsky, in a Syosset ceremony. An autopsy determined she was strangled.

Le vanished Sept. 8 from the Yale medical school research building where she and Clark worked.

>>VIDEO: Click here to watch a recap of the story

Clark has been jailed in the high-security MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in South Suffield, Conn., where his fiancee has visited him nearly every week since his arrest, according to the facility's records obtained by Newsday.

 

Like Clark's parents, fiancee Jennifer Hromadka has made the frequent trips, sometimes at night and on weekends, to the prison where the accused killer is jailed on $3 million bond.

 

The visitor logs are among more than 150 pages of Clark's Connecticut Department of Correction file that detail Clark's time in lockup since his arrest on Sept. 17.

 

The facility's records show that since Clark's arraignment just blocks from Yale's Gothic-style campus, he has been subjected to the everyday indignities of prison life, from being forced to wear a bulky anti-suicide smock upon intake to being strip-searched multiple times in a single day when he got to jail - procedures guards preserved on videotape, the records show.

In prison paperwork, Clark wrote in neat penmanship that his nickname was "Ray Ray," that he is not a drug user, and that he's held jobs at Walmart and Yale University, where he worked as an animal technician.

"Nervous," "very respectful," and asking "many questions" is how one jailer described Clark, according to records.

Fearful that other inmates might extort, abuse or assault Clark, officials kept him largely secluded at first, but now he shares a cell.

Using an abbreviation, another document said of the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Clark: "I/M could become a victim due to his slight frame and because it's his 1st incarceration. . . ."

"Inmate Clark's case has generated a tremendous amount of media coverage throughout Connecticut and across the nation, to include National TV stations and media," one official wrote. "General Population placement may result in inmate Clark being assaulted due to inmates wanting to gain notoriety for themselves."

Clark has acclimated to his new life behind bars, another document said: "I/M Clark observed quickly interacting with other - I/Ms."

Clark, who turns 25 on Thursday, has been assigned a regular group of inmates for recreation.

PHOTOS: Yale student slain before LI wedding

>>PHOTOS: Click here to see photos from Annie Le's funeral, and the latest photos of Raymond Clark

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