Federal immigration agents have deported the 35-year-old Salvadoran man who was a longtime suspect in the 2001 murder of federal intern Chandra Levy and had admitted attacking other women.
Ingmar Guandique was convicted in Levy’s death after a 2010 trial, but a judge overturned the case after the testimony of the key witness was called into question. Prosecutors initially planned to retry Guandique, but ultimately dropped the case, citing additional problems with that witness.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Monday said an immigration judge ordered Guandique deported on March 3, and officials flew him to El Salvador on Friday.
ICE said they deported him because he was in the United States illegally and was a “documented MS-13 gang member” with a long criminal record.
“Mr. Guandique unlawfully entered the United States, and once here, continued to violate U.S. laws by assaulting innocent victims,” said Matthew Munroe, acting field office director in Washington. “As a result of his actions, he has been removed to his home country of El Salvador.”
Levy, 24, was an intern with the Federal Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared on May 1, 2001. The case captured national attention when it came to light that she had had an affair with then-Rep. Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.), who was married and 30 years older. Police later cleared Condit as a suspect. Levy’s skeletal remains were discovered in 2002 in Rock Creek Park.
Years later, authorities charged Guandique in Levy’s death. Although there was no forensic evidence or eyewitness linking him to the case, they alleged that he was a serial predator who had attacked Levy while she was jogging.
Guandique had pleaded guilty to attacking two other women in the park around the time of Levy’s disappearance, but he said he had nothing to do with Levy’s death. ICE said Guandique was convicted in 2002 of two counts of assault with intent to rob and sentenced to 10 years in prison in the other attacks.
During a 2010 murder trial, prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of Guandique’s cellmate, Armando Morales, who testified that Guandique admitted to him that he had killed Levy. A jury found Guandique guilty of murder and he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Guandique was granted a new trial in 2015 after attorneys discovered that Morales had not been truthful when he testified that he had not cooperated with authorities in other cases.
As prosecutors prepared for a retrial last year, they abruptly dropped the case after learning that Morales may have told additional lies during his testimony, which would have further damaged his credibility if he were to come before a second jury.
ICE officials said it was not clear when Guandique had entered the United States.