Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Annie Le: The Yale Lab Murder

Unraveling A Killing

Annie Le
Annie Le
Prosecutors allege that Clark (5 feet 9 inches and 190 pounds) attacked and killed Le (4 feet 11 inches, 90 pounds), probably in an argument over care of the lab mice. They allege that he hit her, then strangled her.

Electronic key records show that Clark was the last authorized person in the lab with Le. These records also indicate that he spending nearly an hour in the room after the estimated time of death, and that he then rapidly moved from room to room, including several rooms he would not normally have reason to enter. He may have been trying to figure out what to do with Le's body, or making sure no one had heard their fight. Finally, he is alleged to have hidden the body in the utilities crawlspace just off their basement lab. A surveillance camera shows that he left that day after a fire alarm went off. Investigators have speculated that he may have set off the alarm himself to make his sudden mid-day departure draw less attention.

Clark insisted on using a unique green pen to sign in each day, and he apparently dropped this pen between the counters during the struggle with Le. He tried to come back later with wire, fish hooks, and gum to try to get it out, but security had locked down the building and the pen stayed there until investigators noticed it and matched it with Clark's signature in the logbook.

In the days following Annie Le's disappearance, cops and acquaintances noticed that Clark had bruises and cuts on his arms, chest, and ear, and under his eye.

In his initial interview with police, Clark denied seeing Le on the day of the murder. Detectives believed he was lying, but they were surprised that he'd try to cover that up, when it was so easy to disprove. They convinced him to take a lie detector test. The polygraph response went off the charts when they asked him if he knew where Le was. Smartly, he then asked to speak with a lawyer, thus ending what could have been an even more damning interview.

On the Sunday that Le was to have wed, but her body was found instead, Clark was playing shortstop for the Wild Hogs as they lost the Yale intramural playoffs in East Shore Park. His mother and girlfriend and a group of New Haven's undercover detectives watched him from the bleachers. He seemed relaxed, if quietdetectives would later compliment him on his game.

After the game he visited relatives. Then he drove an hour northeast to the Harvest Fair that the Lions Club hosts each fall in Hebron, Conn. Detectives discreetly followed.

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