The parents of the late Modesto intern Chandra Levy are upset at a shocking development that will dismiss charges that Ingmar Guandique murdered their daughter in 2001.
The disappearance of Levy touched off a scandal that drew media attention that ultimately brought down Rep. Gary Condit, a Ceres Democrat.
Guandique, an immigrant from El Salvador, has been behind bars since 2010 when he was originally arrested and prosecuted for the murder. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison. However, he will be released to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and faces deportation after a request for a new trial was turned down because prosecutors cannot prove the case.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia issued a vague statement that prosecutors can no longer prove the murder case against Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt, "based on recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week." The statement does not elaborate. Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, declined comment.
A judge dismissed the case after the office issued a one-page motion that said: "After investigating this information and reviewing all of the evidence in this case, the government now believes it is in the interests of justice for the court to dismiss the case."
Attorneys for Guandique said the government had a flimsy case. A request for a new trial was filed last year after doubts were raised about jailhouse informant Armando Morales who was the key witness for the government and claimed Guandique confessed to the killing. His attorneys argued that Morales lied during the trial and that prosecutors knew or should have known the testimony was problematic. They also noted that Guandique passed a lie detector case administered by the FBI.
Washington, D.C. Metro police spent a lot of time focusing on Condit as a possible suspect. In May the defense team sought to take depositions from several women who said they had sexual relationships with Condit and stated two of the women feared Condit. In trying to get their client freed they suggested Condit had a motive to kill Levy "in order to keep the relationship secret."
The remains of Levy were found in Rock Creek Park after Condit had lost his 2002 bid for re-election against Dennis Cardoza. Condit was cleared as a suspect. Guandique was pursued as the murder suspect when prosecutors learned he had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for attacking females jogging in the same park. He was found guilty in 2010.
Condit's attorney, Lin Wood, issued a statement Friday saying Condit is not a suspect now that the case against Guandique has faltered.
"Mr. Condit was long ago completely exonerated by authorities in connection with the death of Chandra Levy," said Wood. "Mr. Condit's counsel was informed yesterday by the U.S. Attorney's office in charge of the Levy case that Mr. Condit is neither a subject nor a target of the investigation into the murder of Chandra Levy."