Levy Suspect Charged in DC

Guandique expected in court Thursday

By Matthew Stabley
|  Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009  |  Updated 8:11 PM EDT
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Levy Suspect Charged in DC

Jackie Bensen/WRC

Ingmar Guandique is suspected in the 2001 death of Washington intern Chandra Levy.

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WASHINGTON -- The Salvadoran immigrant and California inmate suspected in the slaying of Washington intern Chandra Levy has been charged with first-degree murder in D.C. almost two months after an arrest warrant was issued for him.

Ingmar Guandique, 27, was taken Wednesday afternoon to the police department's violent crimes branch for booking ahead of his initial court appearance, which is expected the next day. Until then, he'll be returned to the D.C. jail.

About two weeks ago, he had been moved to a federal transfer center in Oklahoma from a federal prison in California, where he was serving a 10-year sentence on an assault conviction for attacking two female joggers in Rock Creek Park in 2001.

District of Columbia police issued an arrest warrant March 3 for Guandique, accusing him of sexually assaulting and killing Levy on a trail in Rock Creek Park in May 2001. Her remains were found in the park a year later.

Guandique faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of the Modesto, Calif., native.

He repeatedly talked of choking Levy to death during an attempted rape in 2001, according to statements from prison snitches.

The case was cold for years after destroying the career of former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, of California, who admitted to an affair with the intern but always denied any role in her disappearance.

Levy was 24 and had just completed an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared after leaving her D.C. apartment. After a year of searches failed to find her, Levy's remains were spotted by a dog walker in May 2002.

Investigators questioned Guandique, 27, in Levy's slaying after he was convicted in the other two attacks.

Guandique used Rock Creek Park as a "hunting ground," prosecutors said, stalking victims along popular running trails, according to court documents. One victim said she is convinced Guandique was intent on raping her.

In September 2008, D.C. Police and the U.S. Attorney's Office executed a search warrant on Guandique's California jail cell. They reported he had many gang tattoos on his body (some related to MS-13) and that a photo of Chandra Levy, possibly from a magazine, was found in his cell.

Prisoners' statements revealed for the first time that two other "teenagers" may have helped Guandique grab Levy as she jogged in the park and hold her down. When she began to fight off her attackers, Guandique said he choked her to stifle her screams, fearing nearby joggers would hear her, the statements said.

After strangling her, Guandique and his co-cohorts allegedly buried her under "some leaves," according to an account given to investigators in February by an unnamed prisoner who spent time with Guandique.
 

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