NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Raymond J. Clark III pleaded guilty Thursday to the murder of Annie Le, the Yale graduate student who was killed in a laboratory building days before her wedding to Long Island native Jonathan Widawsky.
Clark, 26, pleaded guilty to murdering Le and attempted sexual assault. His agreement with prosecutors calls for a 44-year sentence.
Clark appeared in the cramped New Haven courtroom wearing a blue shirt, dark pants and no handcuffs. He stood expressionless as prosecutors read a lengthy list of evidence against him.
He had pleaded not guilty early last year. Had his case gone to trial, he could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors described Clark's actions after Le was reported missing, including attempts to hide or destroy evidence. Asked whether the facts read by the prosecutor relating to the charge of murder were accurate, Clark nodded and said, "Yes, sir."
Judge Roland D. Fasano also asked Clark whether he understood that he would not be able to seek a trial. Clark answered yes.
Clark's father, Raymond Clark Jr., mother, Diane Clark, and fiancee, Jennifer Hromadka, were in the courtroom.
The elder Clark extended his family's condolences to the Le family and said that he was proud of his son for taking responsibility for his actions.
"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 that he caused the death of Annie," he said.
Le's family was not in court but plans to be at Clark's sentencing, scheduled for later in the spring, prosecutors said. Widawsky also was not in court.
Clark has been held on $3-million bail at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn.
Le, of Placerville, Calif., was last seen shortly after 10 a.m. Sept. 8, 2009. A doctoral student in pharmacology, she was to marry Widawsky on Sept. 13, 2009, at Temple Beth El in Huntington, the same day her body was found hidden in the basement of the lab at 10 Amistad St.
Police found several pieces of physical evidence they said linked Clark to the crime scene, including a bloody sock with Le's and Clark's DNA, hidden above a ceiling tile, according to court documents.
Clark was an animal research technician at Le's laboratory building at the time of the murder.