National/World

Trial begins in the death of Chandra Levy

Monday, October 25, 2010

The trial of the man charged in the 2001 killing of Washington intern and Modesto native Chandra Levy begins today.

The case attracted national attention and led to the end of north valley Congressman Gary Condit's political career after he was romantically linked to levy but cleared in the case.

Police eventually arrested and charged convicted felon Ingmar Guandique for attacking Levy as she jogged in a Washington D.C. park.

The suspect, Ingmar Guandique, is already in prison for attacking women in the same park where Chandra's body was found. Prosecutors' based their case on a confession he made to other inmates that he killed Chandra Levy. But now, Guandique is denying he killed Chandra and there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime scene.

On May 1st 2001 federal government intern Chandra Levy, only 24-years-old, vanished after leaving her apartment in northwest Washington.

Heather Fierce, who now lives at that same complex, remembers the impact of one of the nation's most disturbing and closely followed cold cases.

"It's incredible how people remember," said Fierce, "I think it's hard for a lot of people when they start imagining that this could be their daughter."

A year after Levy disappeared, her remains were found in Rock Creek Park. Intense scrutiny rained down on then California Congressman Gary Condit who had allegedly been having an affair with Levy.

Condit was eventually cleared. 8-years after Levy's death Police arrested 29-year-old Ingmar Guandique, a convicted felon already imprisoned for a pair of violent attacks against women in Rock Creek Park. Authorities believe those attacks happened only weeks after levy was murdered.

"It dawned on me that there's very little I can do, or any of us can do now, to offer anything the Levy's other than justice and I hope that this offering of justice gives them some sense of peace," said Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

"Truly for the parents there is no justice. We have a life sentence not having our child -- knowing what happened," said Chandra's mother Susan Levy.

Now, a jury of 12 women and 4 men will decide if Guandique will or will not be convicted of killing Levy. And residents of the complex where Chandra Levy once lived tell us they will be watching this trial closely.

The case led to the political downfall of Modesto Congressman Gary Condit, who now is on the list of those who may be called to the witness stand. A spokesman for the former congressman says he expects to testify.

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washington d.c., modesto, north valley, murder, national/world, christine park
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