Former cellmate tells jury Guandique admitted killing Levy

More than nine years after former federal intern Chandra Levy disappeared, a D.C. Superior Court jury found Ingmar Guandique guilty of first-degree murder in her death.
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 9:26 PM

For the first time in eight days of trial, Ingmar Guandique was linked directly to the Chandra Levy slaying when a former prison cellmate testified Thursday that Guandique admitted killing the federal intern.

Guandique said he was high on drugs and crouching behind bushes in Rock Creek Park when he saw Levy walking alone and wearing a waist pouch, according to the testimony of the cellmate, Armando Morales. Guandique needed money and he jumped Levy, Morales said.

Morales, a five-time convicted felon, captivated D.C. Superior Court with his testimony. Although the account was secondhand, it was the first telling of Levy's final moments.

He said that he and Guandique shared a cell at a Kentucky prison in 2006. Guandique confided in Morales because he was afraid he was about to be transferred to another prison and feared he would be targeted by inmates because he had been tagged a rapist, Morales testified.

Morales, 49, told Guandique not to worry if he had done nothing wrong.

According to Morales, Guandique said: "You don't understand. . . . Homeboy, I killed the [expletive], but I didn't rape her."

Guandique told Morales that he grabbed Levy from behind and dragged her off the trail. She tried to fight, but by the time Guandique got her into the bushes, she had stopped struggling. He said he thought she was unconscious, not dead, Morales testified.

Guandique took the pouch and ran into the woods, Morales said.

"He said he never meant to kill her," Morales testified. Guandique later said that if he had known Levy was dead, he never would have returned to the park to steal from other women. Guandique told Morales that he did not know Levy had died until detectives disclosed the information during questioning years later.

Levy's mother, Susan, took notes as Morales testified.

Morales and Guandique shared an 8-by-10-foot cell equipped with a bunk bed. Morales was using the top bunk and Guandique was on the bottom when the conversation about Levy occurred, Morales testified.

Guandique, 29, also took notes as Morales testified.

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