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Book on Annie Le slaying speculates on suspect's motives

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) Credit: Pool File

A new book about the slaying last year of 24-year-old graduate student Annie Le provides no new information about the case but does call on forensic experts and criminal defense attorneys to speculate why someone like the defendant would have killed her.

Le's body was found hidden behind the wall of a Yale University animal laboratory building on what would have been her Long Island wedding day, Sept. 13. Four days later, Raymond J. Clark III, a technician in the lab, was arrested.

Stella Sands' 247-page paperback, "Murder at Yale: The True Story of a Beautiful Grad Student and a Cold-Blooded Crime" (St. Martin's True Crime, $7.99), chronicles the mysterious disappearance of Le on Sept. 8, when authorities considered her a possible runaway bride: The agonizing search. The grisly discovery. And the arrest of Clark, now 25, who pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $3 million bond.

Investigators in the case have provided no motive to the public for the strangulation death.

Sands quotes experts and attorneys, who are not involved in the case, to provide possible reasons for the killing of Le.

Among their theories:

"Clark was obsessed with Le and didn't have the wherewithal to express that obsession."

Le's Vietnamese heritage may have been an impetus for Clark, who appears in the yearbook as a member of his high school's Asian Awareness Club.

As a former star athlete, Clark had perched on a "pedestal of entitlement."

Le was killed in a fit of rage.

Sands, who has written other true-crime books and is executive editor of Kids Discover magazine, began work on the project at the request of St. Martin's about a week after Le's disappearance became news, she said in an interview Friday.

Amid vivid storytelling, the book contains a few errors, including the timeline of Clark's interrogation and initial cooperation, which occurred before he was named a "person of interest."

Sands said nobody close to the case had spoken with her. She said she didn't want to reach out to the families of Le or her fiance. Sands traveled to Connecticut and dissected news stories and transcripts for the project.

Long Island looms in the background: Huntington, the site of the home of Le's fiance Jonathan Widowsky and the salon where Le's hair and makeup were to be styled, and the Syosset catering hall where the two were to be married.

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