Levy suspect accused of threatening to kill witness

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ingmar Guandique, the man accused in the slaying of former federal intern Chandra Levy, threatened to kill a potential witness in the case, prosecutors said at a hearing Friday in D.C. Superior Court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor told Judge Geoffrey M. Alprin that Guandique and members of his Salvadoran gang, MS-13, sent two letters to the witness threatening him and his family if the witness testified at the trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 27.

Guandique's attorneys say the witness wrote at least one of the letters, and they are seeking handwriting samples.

Guandique, 28, was arrested in April and charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Levy, who disappeared in May 2001. If found guilty, Guandique could be sentenced to life in prison.

Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, has been serving a 10-year sentence for attacking two women at knife point in Rock Creek Park about the same time that Levy disappeared. Levy's body was found in the park a year after she disappeared.

Prosecutors said Guandique told people that he and two other gang members killed Levy in the park. Guandique later said he killed his two accomplices.

But Guandique's attorneys said that their client is innocent and that there is no DNA evidence linking Guandique to the crime scene. They say prosecutors based their case primarily on confessions from jailhouse informants. The witness who was threatened is one of those.

Levy's disappearance generated international attention because she had been having an affair with then-Rep. Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.), who represented the district that includes her home town of Modesto.

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