Crime

Man Convicted Of Murder Of Chandra Levy To Be Released

| by Jonathan Constante
Chandra LevyChandra Levy

The man convicted of the 2001 murder of Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy will be released from prison.

Ingmar Guandique was found guilty of murdering Levy in 2010, the Daily Mail reported. He was already serving 10 years in prison for attacking two other women in the District of Columbia's Rock Creek Park.

The El Salvador-native was granted a retrial in 2015. His lawyers made the case that key witnesses gave false or misleading testimony. One of those witness was identified as California Congressman Gary Condit.

Condit knew Levy, who was 24-years-old at the time, but refused to give details of the nature of their relationship while under oath during the trial. The married father-of-two did, however, admit to authorities about having an affair with Levy.

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Eugene Ohm, Guandique's lawyer, claimed notes from a police interview with Condit conflicted with his 2010 testimony.

“Mr. Condit was fully aware of the cost he could pay if his affair with Ms. Levy became public,” Guandique's legal team wrote in a motion filed in May. “He therefore had an obvious motive to kill Ms. Levy in order to keep the relationship secret, and an equally powerful motive to cover-up the circumstances of her death if she died while she was with him -- either through his intentional conduct or otherwise.”  

Guandique's conviction was also based on testimony from his former cell mate, Armando Morales, who claimed Guandique confessed to him that he was responsible for Levy’s death. Guandique's lawyers argued that Morales’ testimony was unreliable, and that no physical evidence linking Guandique to the crime existed.

“It is now clear that the jailhouse informant, who was central to the government’s case, was a perjurer who too easily manipulated the prosecutors," Laura E. Hankins, a spokeswoman for Guandique's attorneys, said in a statement.

In a statement released on July 28, officials wrote:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is deeply committed to ensuring that justice is served in all of its cases. Today, in the interests of justice and based on recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week, the Office moved to dismiss the case charging Ingmar Guandique with the May 2001 murder of Chandra Levy. The Office has concluded that it can no longer prove the murder case against Mr. Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the Office will not proceed with the retrial of Mr. Guandique, who was found guilty in 2010 of first-degree felony murder and other charges. Mr. Guandique has been incarcerated while awaiting retrial. Pending action by the Court, Mr. Guandique will then be released to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where he faces removal proceedings.

Chandra Levy's mother Susan says she and her family are "in a state of shock" after learning the news of Guandique's release.

"I am sick to my stomach and am having trauma and grief all over again," Susan told KCRA. "We all want our truth. I want to make sure we find out the truth. My husband and I hope that justice is found for our family."

Levy’s disappearance in 2001 made national headlines after it was revealed she was romantically-linked to Condit. Condit was considered a person of interest at the time, but authorities never named him an official suspect.

Levy’s remains were located at Rock Creek Park one year after her disappearance. The remains were less than three miles away from Condit’s apartment.

Sources: Daily Mail, WBIR, KCRA / Photo Credit: CNN, Polaris/Eyevine via Daily Mail

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