Day Two in Levy Murder Trial

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010  |  Updated 3:36 AM EDT
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The second day of <a title=Chandra Levy's murder trial took an unexpected turn: the prosecution called Levy's father to the stand, but it was the defense that may have benefited the most." />

The second day of Chandra Levy's murder trial took an unexpected turn: the prosecution called Levy's father to the stand, but it was the defense that may have benefited the most.

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Chandra Levy's Father Takes the Stand

In Day 2 of the Ingmar Guandique Trial, Robert Levy took the stand talking about his family's original focus on former Congressman Gary Condit. Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.
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Under cross-examination Tuesday, Chandra Levy's father testified that his family believed then-U.S. Rep. Gary Condit was the primary suspect when Levy disappeared, and they told police as much.

"We were mad at him," Dr. Robert Levy said. "We would say whatever came into our minds. He was the villain."

Robert Levy said he deduced Chandra Levy was having an affair with the congressman when he saw from the family cell phone bill that she had made multiple calls to the congressman's office, the Associated Press reported. Chandra Levy had, in her mind, a five-year plan in which she would marry Condit, her father said.

Robert Levy told police his daughter was not the type to go for a jog in a strange park, preferring to exercise in a gym, leading him to believe someone took her to Rock Creek Park, NBC4's Pat Collins reported.

"I said that thinking that Condit was the guilty one, before we knew about this character," Robert Levy said, referring to Ingmar Guandique, who he now believes killed his daughter.

Also on the second day of the trial of Guandique for the 2001 slaying of Chandra Levy, a second victim of the alleged murderer testified, describing the assault she suffered at his hands.

Christy Wiegand told the court how Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, attacked her while she was jogging in Rock Creek Park. She and her boyfriend were jogging at the time, but her boyfriend got ahead of her. Gaundique jumped her from behind, holding a knife to her cheek, and pushed her into a ravine.

Wiegand told the court that she was prepared to struggle to her death. At one point, she went limp, then immediately resumed struggling -- and was able to break free as Guandique ran off, News4's Pat Collins reported. He was arrested after the attack.

The police officer who oversaw the investigation for the first thirty days also testified. He said that Condit, with whom Levy was romantically linked, was uncooperative from the very start of the investigation -- a factor that led investigators to focus on him.

Though Levy made national headlines because she was linked to Condit, he was eventually cleared as a suspect. Then–Roll Call reporter Amy Keller was the first reporter to consider that Levy may have the victim of a random assault. She published a report suggesting Guandique as a suspect on Salon story in 2002, the day after her remains were discovered in Rock Creek Park.

Yesterday, prosecutors described the grisly May 2002 discovery of a 180-foot trail of evidence leading to Levy's remains, as News4's Pat Collins reported.

They acknowledged massive mistakes in the investigation into Levy's death. Police botched the investigation by mistakenly focusing on Condit, but prosecutors said they now have the man who killed Levy.

Prosecutors acknowledged that they have no physical evidence or eyewitnesses in Levy's slaying. But the attacks survived by Wiegand and another victim, Halle Shilling -- attacks of which Guandique was convicted, prosecutors said -- were both similar. Guandique had injuries consistent with a similar attack on Levy, prosecutors said.

Further, the suspect made the mistake of confessing to the Levy homicide to cellmates while he served 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys said the evidence against Guandique is practically nonexistent. The government has missed evidence and misplaced evidence and can't undo their mistakes, the defense said. They are trying to make Guandique a scapegoat for their mistakes, the defense said.

A jury of 12 women and four men, which includes four alternates, was selected last week.  The trial is expected to last at least a month.

Condit has said through a spokesman that he expects to testify.


Follow @nbcwashington.com on Twitter for the latest information from the courtroom, and check the Twitter widget below for the latest chatter on the trial. 

 

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