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September 21, 2009

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Tough job for Yale murder defense

DEFENDING a Yale lab technician charged with murder against what appears to be a mountain of forensic evidence might mean trying to convince jurors the crime scene was contaminated because police didn't immediately shut down the lab where the victim was found, legal experts said.

Raymond Clark III, 24, is charged with murder for the death of Yale graduate student Annie Le. She vanished from a research building in Yale's medical school complex on September 8; her body was found hidden in a wall recess five days later, on what was to be her wedding day.

Police charged Clark after reviewing 300 pieces of evidence. Officials reportedly found DNA from Le and Clark in the recess where Le's body was found.

The evidence is so overwhelming that police believe they don't necessarily have to uncover Clark's motive for the killing to convince jurors of his guilt.

That likely leaves Clark's attorneys with going after how that evidence was gathered - rather than what it showed - and have prosecutors defend their decision not to seal the lab building until Le's body was found.

Yale students were allowed into the basement of the research building for at least three days after Le disappeared. Clark was in the lab cleaning while police were conducting interviews shortly after the grad student disappeared, and tried to hide lab cleaning equipment they later discovered contained blood spatters.


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