More charges promised in Chandra Levy case
Move delays trial for 2001 slaying until October
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Federal prosecutors in the Chandra Levy murder case told a D.C. Superior Court judge Monday that they plan to file additional charges against the suspect, Ingmar Guandique.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor told the judge that his office plans to file a superseding indictment within the next few weeks and has scheduled a new arraignment for Guandique for Dec. 15.
After the hearing, Campoamor declined to name the new charges. But in court filings this summer, prosecutors said they found at least one other person who reported having been attacked by a man fitting Guandique's description. Last month, prosecutors said that Guandique had threatened to kill a potential witness in the case. Prosecutors said Guandique and members of his Salvadoran gang, MS-13, sent two letters to the witness, an inmate in another prison. The witness had to be moved.
As a result of the new charges, the trial, which was scheduled to begin in January, was rescheduled for Oct. 4.
Guandique, 28, was arrested in April and charged with six counts, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and sexual abuse, in connection with Levy's 2001 disappearance and slaying.
If found guilty, Guandique could be sentenced to life in prison. Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, has been serving a 10-year term for attacking two women at knifepoint in Rock Creek Park about the time Levy disappeared. Levy's body was found in the park a year later.
Guandique's attorneys said that their client is innocent and that no DNA evidence links him to the crime scene. They say prosecutors based their case primarily on information from jailhouse informants.
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.
Guandique, standing between his attorneys from the District's Public Defender Service and a court-appointed Spanish interpreter, said little at Monday's hearing, other than his full name and "good morning" to the judge.
The case will be heard by Judge Gerald Fisher, who assumed it from retiring Judge Geoffrey M. Alprin.
Campoamor told Fisher that Guandique will have completed his prison sentence for assault and is scheduled to be released about the time his trial is to begin. Campoamor said that if Guandique's release date and trial coincide, prosecutors will seek to have him held in the D.C. jail for the trial.