Politics & Government

Judge rejects postponing Chandra Levy murder trial

WASHINGTON — Ingmar Guandique will go on trial in January for the murder of former intern Chandra Levy despite his attorneys' requests for a delay, a judge declared Friday.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Alprin declined to postpone Guandique's Jan. 27 trial date, even as federal prosecutors unveiled more evidence. The evidence outlined in the latest filings ranges from testimony from a new witness to allegations about Guandique's behavior behind bars.

One new witness contends he or she was stabbed by someone resembling Guandique, while others characterize the Salvadoran illegal immigrant as violent or disturbed.

"If called to testify, Witness Three would state that (Guandique) was often in trouble in jail for masturbating in front of female guards," prosecutors state in one filing, adding that Guandique told this same witness that he was known as "Chucky" on the streets because "he had a reputation for killing and chopping up people."

Prosecutors say Guandique attacked Levy in Washington's Rock Creek Park while she was jogging in May 2001. Raised in Modesto, Calif., Levy had recently finished a graduate school program and a Bureau of Prisons internship.

Levy's disappearance brought intense scrutiny to her private life, and reports that she was involved sexually with then-Rep. Gary Condit, a California Democrat. Condit lost re-election to his House seat over the matter, although police never called him a suspect.

Levy's skeletal remains were found in May 2002.

"In this flawed investigation, there is not a single witness to testify they have ever seen Mr. Guandique and the decedent together," Guandique's public defenders stated.

Guandique's attorneys have noted previously the prosecution's reliance on jailhouse informants, and the latest filings show the attorneys are seeking to discover information about these witnesses' potential gang affiliations.

In 31 pages filed with the court late Thursday, however, prosecutors further outlined their case against Guandique. The documents don't provide the name of any specific witness, nor are the allegations cited always confined strictly to Levy's 2001 murder.

One witness, a former cellmate, claims Guandique forced him to perform oral sex and also raped him at knifepoint.

"As defendant was raping Witness Two, he told (him) that he liked to do it to women like that," the prosecution filings state. "Defendant told Witness Two that he tied down the woman that he raped and killed in Washington, D.C."

Another witness told prosecutors that he or she was "walking along a trail" sometime prior to Levy's murder. This witness says he or she saw someone who looked like Guandique, who then "grabbed it by the shoulders, pushed it to the ground forcing it to sit and then stabbed it in the back."

In part, the latest court filings outline the estimated 5,000 pages of documents and other materials provided to Guandique's defense attorneys as part of the pretrial discovery process. They shed light on how the investigation has proceeded, including a previously undisclosed government plea offer that expired July 24.

From Guandique's prison cell, for instance, prosecutors found articles about Levy's disappearance as well as sketches and letters. Investigators say they found on Levy's tights "a mixture of DNA," none of which matched Guandique's, and they also advised Guandique's attorneys of some unusual items.

"In reviewing the files of the Metropolitan Police Department, we discovered two file drawers which are filled with documents memorializing Chandra sightings, hot line tips, psychic predictions and the like," Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines noted.

Haines offered to provide the latter information to Guandique's attorneys, though she added that "we do not believe that any of the information contained therein is probative."


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