Ingmar Guandique Deported to El Salvador After Chandra Levy Murder Charges Dropped

Guandique, 35, is a documented MS-13 gang member, ICE said

Ingmar Guandique, the man previously convicted of killing D.C. intern Chandra Levy, is back in his native El Salvador, nearly a year after prosecutors dropped all charges against him. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials say Guandique was deported to El Salvador on Friday. 

“Mr. Guandique unlawfully entered the United States, and once here, continued to violate U.S. laws by assaulting innocent victims,” Matthew Munroe of the ICE Washington field office said in a statement. “As a result of his actions, he has been removed to his home country of El Salvador.”

Guandique, 35, is a documented MS-13 gang member, ICE said. 

He was convicted in 2010 in Levy's death but later was granted a new trial. Prosecutors later moved to dismiss the charges after they felt they could no longer prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Guandique's lawyers said the informant who reported that Guandique confessed to the crime was found to have lied.

"It is now clear that the jailhouse informant, who was central to the government’s case, was a perjurer who too easily manipulated the prosecutors," Laura E. Hankins said in a statement. 

Levy, a 24-year-old California native, was living in Northwest D.C. when she vanished on May 1, 2001. Her disappearance made national headlines after she was romantically linked to then-U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, also from California.

Her remains were found in Rock Creek Park a year after her disappearance. 

Federal murder charges in the 2001 death of 24-year-old intern Chandra Levy have been dropped against Ingmar Guandique. News4’s Chris Gordon reports.

Condit, a California Democrat, was ruled out as a suspect, and authorities turned their focus to Guandique, who was accused of attacking Levy while she jogged in the park.

Prosecutors argued Levy's death fit a pattern of attacks Guandique committed on female joggers. At the time, he was serving 10 years in prison for attacking two other women in Rock Creek Park. 

But prosecutors lacked hard evidence against him, presenting neither eyewitnesses nor DNA evidence. The prosecution admitted evidence was mishandled as the early investigation focused on Condit.

A jury found Guandique guilty in November 2010 on two charges of felony murder in Levy's death.

Guandique was sentenced to 60 years, when he was 29. 

Guandique's conviction was based primarily on the testimony of Guandique's former cellmate Armando Morales, who said Guandique told him he was responsible for Levy's death. Guandique's defense lawyers argued Morales' testimony was unreliable and that there was no physical evidence linking Guandique to the the murder.

Levy's mother, Susan Levy, attended Guandique's initial murder trial every day. Last year, she said she was upset to hear Guandique would be released. 

"I hope that we find the right person, that if it was Guandique, that he doesn't go on and do anything else to other people," she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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