Prosecutor: Levy ‘Random Victim’ of Salvadoran Laborer

CNN, March 3, 2009

Nearly seven years after the remains of federal intern Chandra Levy were found in a Washington park, a jailed laborer from El Salvador faces a murder charge in her death, authorities said Tuesday.

A judge on Tuesday signed an arrest warrant for Ingmar Guandique, 27, who is serving a 10-year sentence for two assaults in Rock Creek Park that occurred around the time of Levy’s disappearance.

Her remains were found in Rock Creek Park about a year after she was reported missing.

“We believe Levy was a random victim of Guandique, who attacked and killed her as she jogged in Rock Creek Park,” said Jeffrey Taylor, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

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Guandique faces a first-degree murder charge. A conviction on the charge would bring a mandatory sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison, Taylor said.

The massive publicity surrounding the Levy case was largely a result of her romantic affair to then-Rep. Gary Condit, a California Democrat. Police questioned Condit many times in connection with the slaying, but the congressman was never considered a suspect. Video Watch the police announce arrest ยป

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Guandique has been imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution-Victorville, a medium-security facility northeast of Los Angeles, California. Officials hope to transfer him from California to the nation’s capital in 45 to 60 days.

He’s serving his sentence on the two assault convictions in California because there are no prisons in the District of Columbia. Those convicted of federal crimes in the capital are sent to various federal prisons across the country.

Guandique was considered a person of interest in 2002 in connection with Levy’s death, authorities said Tuesday. Before the new charges, his projected release date from prison was October 5, 2011.

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Two other witnesses reported that Guandique told them he committed crimes against women, including rape and murder, according to the affidavit. And another witness last month told police Guandique admitted his involvement in Levy’s killing, as well as that he tried to rape two other women in the park at knifepoint, the affidavit said.

When news emerged last month that Guandique’s arrest was imminent in the Levy case, the same witness told police Guandique “became very anxious and said something to the effect of, ‘[Expletive], it’s over. They got me now. What am I gonna do?’ ”

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