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Illegal Convicted Of Chandra Levy Murder

Some highly selective reporting from the Washington Post:

Ingmar Guandique convicted of first-degree murder of former intern Chandra Levy

By Keith L. Alexander and Henri E. Cauvin
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prosecutors overcame a lack of any scientific evidence to secure a conviction Monday of Ingmar Guandique in the killing of former federal intern Chandra Levy.

Guandique, 29, will be sentenced in February on two counts of first-degree felony murder, one related to her kidnapping and one related to attempted robbery. He could face up to life in prison without parole.

The Levy case was challenging from the start. There was no forensic evidence linking Guandique to the crime scene in Rock Creek Park, no murder weapon, no eyewitness and no definitive ruling from the medical examiner on what killed Levy. Numerous mistakes by police and forensic scientists further hampered the investigation.

But prosecutors offered a compelling theory of how Levy died nine years ago. They presented believable testimony from a former cellmate of Guandique’s who said Guandique confessed to the attack and the gripping stories of two women who were attacked by Guandique in Rock Creek Park about the same time as Levy went missing in 2001.

Jurors said that was enough to reach a guilty verdict.

"I don’t know that it was particularly difficult," said juror Linda Norton, an interior designer.

When asked about the lack of DNA and other science in the case, Norton said: "Well . . . there was a lot of evidence. . . .You know how much evidence there was, all kinds of evidence, and we were in a very small room with all of that evidence every day and we went through it in a very deliberate manner." She said the length of the deliberation was a direct result of the volume of that evidence.

The jury of nine women and three men reached its verdict after 31/2 days of deliberations.

Juror Sharae Bacon said the cellmate’s testimony convinced her that Guandique killed Levy. "There were no holes in his testimony," she said…

Guandique, 29, wearing a blue turtleneck and a gray sweater vest, listened through headphones that translated the verdict into Spanish. He stared straight ahead and had no visible reaction…

His attorneys, Santha Sonenberg and Maria Hawilo from the District’s public defender’s service, declined to comment. But it is likely they will appeal.

After the verdict was announced, Susan Levy and the lead prosecutor locked in a warm embrace outside the courtroom. "Thank you," Susan Levy said to Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines. ". . . That was a miracle."

"Miracles happen," Haines replied

Without any forensic evidence, prosecutors based their case on two primary pillars. First, they argued, that Guandique preyed on women in Rock Creek Park and that the attack on Levy was part of a pattern. Guandique was convicted in 2002 of attacking two female joggers in the park about the same time Levy disappeared, and those joggers testified at the trial.

The second pillar was the testimony of one of Guandique’s former cellmates, who was housed with Guandique when he was serving time for the jogger attacks. The inmate told jurors that Guandique admitted to him in 2006 that he killed Levy.

That testimony was the only evidence during more than three weeks of trial that directly linked Guandique to Levy’s slaying.

Armando Morales, a convicted drug dealer and gang member who was housed with Guandique in a Kentucky prison in 2006, gave compelling details of what Guandique told him…

Morales, a five-time convicted felon, captivated the courtroom with his testimony. Although the account was secondhand, it was the first telling of Levy’s final moments…

Bacon, [a] juror, said Morales was the key to the verdict for her and others on the panel.

"They were gang brothers. Guandique confided in him," she said

Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, also had scratches on his face at the time Levy disappeared and gave varying accounts to friends about how he got them, according to testimony.

Prosecutors argued that the scratches were a result of a struggle that he had with Levy in the park.

Defense attorneys argued that there was no forensic evidence tying Guandique to the crime scene, because Guandique didn’t commit the crime. He wasn’t there, they argued. They theorized that Levy wasn’t killed in the park but that her body was dumped there.

They brought in another cellmate of Guandique’s, who testified that Guandique never mentioned Levy’s name.

The conviction further solidifies Haines place as a top prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office. Haines took the case when others thought there was very little evidence to take the case to trial

Gladys Weatherspoon, who represented Guandique when he was charged in the 2001 assaults of Halle Shilling and Christy Wiegand, said the verdict was predictable but troubling.

The jurors, Weatherspoon said, had a great weight on them. "I just think they were going to convict anyway," she said. "They felt bad for that woman, the mom. She’s sitting in there every day."

Weatherspoon, who was at the public defender service when she represented Guandique almost a decade ago, is now in private practice. She said the suggestion by the prosecution that Levy was the victim of a sexual predator who tied her up was wholly inconsistent with Guandique’s modus operandi on the other two women.

"If it happened, it was an accident," she said, noting that the government’s own witness had testified that Guandique said it was months before he even learned that Levy had died.

If you pore over this very lengthy article you will notice that it is only in the 35th paragraph (out of 44) that the Washington Post deigns to note that Mr. Guandique is an "illegal immigrant" from El Salvador.

And while they note he wore a turtleneck at the trial,  nowhere do they mention that he wore it to hide his M13 gang tattoos. (Although they do quote the juror who mentions "gang brothers" in the 33rd paragraph.)

Lest we forget, MS-13 (short for Mara Salvatrucha) is a notoriously violent international criminal gang that is now active in at least 42 states with up to 10,000 members. They often use machetes to cut people’s heads off.

So Mr. Guandique is not quite your average ‘run of the mill’ criminal.

You would think that the Washington Post, which has spent so much time on the Chandra Levy murder over the last ten years, would have bothered to mention this detail. But instead the article seems to spends most of the time trying to undermine the prosecution’s case.

Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Illegal Convicted Of Chandra Levy Murder”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    I am willing to bet the mortgage on the ranch that Gaundique is not who murdered Levy.

    Not all conspiracies are theories. Condit’s position on the House Intelligence Committee. The Clinton era. Deep background civil war inside our borders. Condit the only guy who stood up for Jim Traficant – Traficant every night standing in the well of the House accusing the federal apparatus of treason and worse.

    No. My vote is Gaundique is the fall guy. Whether arranged to be where Chandra would be; cuffed and held on ice to be the convenient guilty one; whether or not he was tagged for this … who can say.

    But this whole business stinks to high heaven.

    • proreason says:

      Based only on the article, which is a huge assumption, since wapro has its own agenda on every topic, I wouldn’t have convicted the guy.

      I was rejected in jury questioning years ago because the prosector wanted the jurors to say they would convict a man of child molestation based ONLY on the testimony of child. The prosecutor was very clear…no forensic evidence, no witnesses, the alleged perpetrator would not testify, no medical testimony, and he wouldn’t reveal the age of the child. I said “well maybe, but that kid will have to be REAL persuasive”. Amazingly, the first 15 people questioned said “absolutely”; I was aghast at the fools. The prosecutor dismissed me immediately…I wasn’t allowed to say another word, and everything stopped until I left the room. So much for innocent until proven guilty.

  2. wardmama4 says:

    You would think that the Washington Post, which has spent so much time on the Chandra Levy murder over the last ten years, would have bothered to mention this detail. But instead the article seems to spends most of the time trying to undermine the prosecution’s case.

    But Steve – That wouldn’t do well with Reids attempt to shove Shamnesty down the throats of the American people – and the msm is nothing, if not compliant with protecting and projecting the agenda of the Administration.

    And GBJ – I agree, I’ve always thought that she was killed by/for Condit – I bet his family is livin’ large on the money paid for this deed.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “There were no holes in his testimony,” she said…

    Thus disappointing many who would hate to see an “undocumented person” unfairly convicted. Surely the appeal will hinge now on finding those “holes”.

  4. Georgfelis says:

    Hm. I notice there is no mention on any deal the convicted criminal who testified agaiinst this slime might receive.

    Personally I believe this defendent proves the point that one can be innocent of the crime to which you are accused, but still a criminal in many other regards who needs to spend a great, great number of years behind bars.

  5. Mithrandir says:

    We need illegals so companies can make huge profits (where are the liberals?), and so that cheap, non-union labor (where are the liberals?), can give us cheap fruits and vegetables for an overweight U.S. populace (where are the liberals?)

    We also don’t need to secure the border, but need to stop terrorism by feeling testicles at the airport.


  6. Petronius says:

    Steve : The article failed to “mention that [Chandra Levy’s murderer, Guandique] wore [a turtleneck] to hide his MS-13 gang tattoos.”

    Perhaps the Washington Post thought it not worth mentioning since nearly all of these undocumented immigrants have tattoos.

    There are parts of metro Washington DC where even the babies have tattoos.

    Your stimulus dollars at work.

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