Chandra Levy slaying suspect charged with threatening witness

McClatchy NewspapersDecember 3, 2009 

WASHINGTON — Prosecutors have charged the man accused of killing former intern Chandra Levy with threatening to kill a potential witness in the case.

In a new indictment made public Thursday, the prosecutors contend that Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique and his associates threatened an informant known so far only as "J.G." The alleged threats were conveyed orally and in writing, prosecutors told the grand jury that issued the new indictment.

"Persons, whose identities are unknown to the grand jury, wrote or caused to be written a letter threatening to kill J.G. and J.G.'s family if J.G. continued to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of Ingmar Guandique," the new indictment says.

The new charges include conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The seven-page superseding indictment filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia also includes the previous charges leveled against Guandique, led by first-degree murder and attempted sexual assault.

Guandique is in the District of Columbia jail, serving an unrelated sentence and awaiting a trial that's been rescheduled for next October. Prosecutors say he murdered Levy in Washington's Rock Creek Park on May 1, 2001.

At the time, Levy had completed her University of Southern California graduate studies and a federal Bureau of Prisons internship. She reportedly was preparing to return to California, where she was raised in the city of Modesto.

Levy's disappearance rocketed to national attention as evidence seeped out about her relationship with then-U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif. Condit lost his House seat in the aftermath.

Now back in private life, where he's tried businesses including an ill-fated ice cream store venture in Arizona, Condit still sees his name pop up in the Guandique case. In late October, for instance, Guandique's defense attorneys attempted without success to obtain DNA evidence taken from Condit's Washington home for possible further testing.

The heavily tattooed Guandique is a self-proclaimed member of the MS-13 gang, according to evidence that prosecutors have presented. The case against him is driven, in large part, by an assortment of jailhouse informants whose credibility is being assailed by Guandique's attorneys.

"Virtually the entire government's case against Mr. Guandique ... rests on cooperating informant testimony by convicted felons," a recent defense filing says.

Earlier this year, prosecutors charge in the new indictment, Guandique "enlisted a person" to convey the threatening note to J.G. By May 21, prosecutors say, this other individual had transmitted the message.

Separately, prosecutors charge, Guandique "communicated to persons ... the fact that J.G. was assisting law enforcement so that these persons would deter J.G. from continuing to cooperate with law enforcement."

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