- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 19, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. | A lab technician charged with killing a Yale University graduate student and cramming her body in a wall tried to hide evidence even as investigators worked around him, officials said, then coolly played a softball game on the day the victim’s body was found.

An investigator observed Raymond Clark III trying to hide cleaning equipment that contained blood splatters as teams probed the disappearance of 24-year-old Annie Le, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation who spoke to the Hartford Courant newspaper.

Investigators have records of Mr. Clark, also 24, cleaning areas that Miss Le was in before she was reported missing Sept. 8, the official told the Courant, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Despite Mr. Clark’s efforts, investigators found the DNA of both suspect and victim in the ceiling and in the wall recess where Miss Le’s body was hidden, the official told the paper. New Haven police wouldn’t confirm that information to the Associated Press.

The body of Miss Le, a pharmacology student from Placerville, Calif., was recovered Sunday - the day she was to get married on New York’s Long Island.

Prosecutors may face difficult questions in Mr. Clark’s trial about why they didn’t restrict access to the lab after Miss Le was reported missing, legal experts said. Miss Le disappeared on a Tuesday, and authorities didn’t close it until the weekend.

“If a jury is looking for something to grab onto, then this could be something for them to grab onto,” said Hugh Keefe, a top state defense attorney.

Police charged Mr. Clark with murder after arresting him at a motel Thursday, a day after they took DNA samples from him to compare with the evidence from the crime scene. His bond was set at $3 million, and he did not enter a plea.

A law enforcement source who talked to the AP on the condition of anonymity said Thursday that Yale co-workers called Mr. Clark a “control freak” who was territorial about the mice whose cages he cleaned. Authorities are investigating whether that attitude might have set off a clash between Mr. Clark and Miss Le.

Also that day, Mr. Clark played shortstop in a softball playoff game for his team, the New Haven Wild Hogs, an opposing player said. And he played under the gaze of undercover police officers, Lt. John Velleca told the New Haven Independent.

One of the opposing players, Vinnie Mauro of New Haven, said he knew Mr. Clark as a plain, calm New York Mets fan who usually wore a David Wright jersey. “There was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. He was just nondescript, kept to himself,” Mr. Mauro told AP.

Jay Lindsay, Ray Henry, Michael Hill and Susan Haigh contributed to this report.

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