Annie Le Murderer Raymond Clark Gets 44 Years: Is That Enough?

Sheri Reed

Yale University
Yale University
When Annie Le, a 24-year-old graduate student at Yale, went missing in September 2009, having been last seen around the Yale University research lab, many were gripped by her disappearance. Living just down the highway from her hometown here in Northern California, I was completely fixated by the case. What could have happened to her? How does a woman just disappear?

Soon enough investigators found Annie's lifeless body -- inside a wall in the lab -- on what was to be her wedding day. Police were questioning a strangely behaved 26-year-old lab technician, Raymond Clark III, who was later arrested for her murder. An awful nightmare!

Well, today brings closure for her fiance and family, in a small way, as Clark pleaded guilty to the rape and murder and was sentenced to 44 years behind bars. Unfortunately, we also learned the horrific details of the murder, which makes us wonder if 44 years is enough.

*Warning*: the following details are extremely difficult to read.

The details about Le's murder that were revealed today included the following:

  • Le's body was found upside-down in a wall in the lab, her bra pulled up to her neck and her underwear down.
  • Her jaw and collarbone were broken and her back bruised in the brutal sexual assault that occurred while she was still alive.
  • There was a violent struggle that left the room splattered with blood and Clark's face scratched. 
  • Clark then strangled her to death.

Clark's 44-year sentence comes as part of a plea deal that spared him from the death penalty. A spokesman for Le's family said, "...they're very conscious of the sad fact that no plea and no sentence will bring Annie back." But according to a lawyer in the case, Le's parents say they are "satisfied that justice was done."

I'm not sure I'm satisfied. I mean, is there any hope for this man's rehabilitation? What makes a man commit such a disgusting crime for no apparent reason? I guess Clark will be in his 70s if he serves his full sentence, but how bad does a crime have to be to put someone in prison for life? I don't get it.

Do you think 44 years in prison is enough, based on the details of this crime?

Image via Jelly Dude/Flickr

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