City Desk

Defense Plans To Call Tattoo Expert in Levy Trial

As the Chandra Levy trial rolls on, the proceedings will eventually dwell on a creepy theory: Authorities believe murder suspect Ingmar Guandique has a portrait of his victim tattooed on his chest. H Street tattoo artist Paul Roe may be setting them straight.

In 2008, D.C. cops checked out Guandique in a California prison, where he was serving time for two knife attacks against women, and discovered he had loads of tats, including what court papers say are "a picture of a devil on top of his head, an image of the character 'Chuckie' holding a knife on his back, and a naked female on his chest..." Prosecutors contend the woman depicted was meant to be Levy.

According to court papers, the defense wants Roe, who runs Britishink Tattoos at 5th and H streets NE, to take the stand as an expert witness so that he can tell jurors that the jailhouse artist who did Guandique's skin art was talented. And that's important because the naked woman on Guandique apparently doesn't look very much like Levy. Court papers filed by the defense explain:

After having examined the photographs of Mr. Guandique's tattoos, Mr. Roe's opinion is that his tattoos are detailed and well done, and according, if they were intended to be a portrait of a specific person, they would look like the person after whom they were modeled. Mr. Roe does not believe that Mr. Guandique's tattoos look anything like Chandra Levy, and in fact, they are iconic images that are repeated hundreds of times over in "flash" images and tattoo magazines, pin-up poses, etc.

If allowed to take the stand, Roe will claim that Guandique's tattoos reflect typical "misogynistic poses that have been depicted hundreds of times in all different styles of tattooing," as opposed to reflecting an effort to memorialize a brutal murder. Those would seem to be deep waters for a tattooist to wade into.

Contacted, Roe said he has no comment regarding his upcoming duties. He also declined to talk about his work. But this video interview with Roe seems to show a guy dedicated to his field.

Photo of Paul Roe from www.britishinkdc.com

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