City Desk

Guandique Sentenced in Chandra Levy’s Murder

One of the District’s most sensational murder cases is finally over, with Ingmar Guandique being sentenced to 60 years in prison in D.C. Superior Court this morning.

It was quite a dramatic sentencing. Susan Levy, the murdered intern’s mother, pointed at Guandique in the courtroom, telling him "rot in hell." She ended her remarks by looking at Guandique and saying "finally, fuck you," according to TBD.

Guandique, who killed Chandra Levy, an intern in the Bureau of Prisons back in 2001, originally wasn’t fingered for the crime. Instead, U.S. Rep. Gary Condit of California was suspected, due to his affair with the young intern. (A media circus erupted—a maligned congressman makes for much better headlines than an illegal immigrant from El Salvador.)

The sentencing also apparently ends a story that's become part of local media lore. Years after the killing, The Washington Post devoted a seies of stories to the unsolved mytery back  in 2008. But it was Amy Keller, a reporter at Roll Call, who actually first wondered if Levy really had been the victim of a random attack, instead of a malicious congressman. As she wrote in a 2002 Salon article:

While my colleagues speculated on the proximity of Condit's Adams Morgan apartment to the section of park where Levy's body was recovered on May 22, I wondered if the location of her body might point to another possibility: Perhaps Levy really was the victim of a random attack. I know the trepidation I feel each time I jog or bike along the park trails near my own neighborhood on the outskirts of Washington. The charming, leafy streets here are deceptive; Washington has its high crime areas, some just blocks from where members of Congress live in opulent brownstones.

I took a straightforward approach, and clicked through news databases, searching through stories about other crimes that might have been committed in the park. Eventually, I clicked my way to Ingmar Guandique.

Guandique is serving out a 10-year sentence in federal prison for brutally attacking two young women along the Broad Branch trail last May and July. That's the same section of Rock Creek Park where Levy was found. She had gone missing in May of 2001.

I knew I had a good story on my hands. But I had no idea that once I published it, other reporters following the Levy investigation would question my motives, or accuse me of being a pawn of Gary Condit.

Keller, in fact, did have her motives questioned, and was more than once called a Condit pawn. As she wrote in her 2002 article, at one point a reporter from the Modesto Bee, a paper in Condit’s home district, called to ask if Condit’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, had tried to plant Keller’s story to make Condit look good. He said he found Keller’s timing “curious" and Keller struggled to respond to the charge:

I stammered out a "No, that's now how it happened at all," and fought back the urge to ask him whether he was also investigating the theory that White House officials had planted Levy's bones in the park in an effort to divert attention from stories alleging they had ample warning of the Sept. 11 attacks. I also stifled the desire to tell him where to stick his theory—that none of my sources were any of his, nor any other reporter's, business.

Calmly—and probably a little too nicely—I explained that I simply used one part hunch, two cups of research and one-quarter teaspoon of source-based reporting, otherwise known as conversing with the cops. No, Gary Condit's lawyer had definitely not planted this one, I told him.

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  • Rick Mangus

    And you wounder why people have no faith in our courts, this clown should of gotten life, without parole!

  • drez

    Thanks for the very nice ending to this post- recognizing Ms Keller- a true hero in this.

  • A. Nuran

    Good for Sarah Levy. If the murderer were subject to the death penalty I'd give her first refusal at pulling the trigger or pulling the rope.

  • Obbop

    I hope Obama hurries up with yet another amnesty so his buddies can get their much-deserved USA citizenship

  • Suz

    I am so glad you actually provided S. Levy's ending statement. All other reports said she "cursed" her daughter's convicted killer. What she said to this creature was just and meaningful--an exclamation point to her suffering. Thanks for actually reporting the news.

  • Cashcleaner

    Was waiting for the stupid political remark that had nothing to do with the story; and thanks to Obbop, I was not disappointed.

  • Travis

    So...looks like we all owe Condit an apology.

  • Wapo lied about this

    Thank you for giving us Susan Levy's remarks, which most everyone would second in one form or another.

    And especially thank you for noting that it was Amy Keller who broke the case while reporting for Roll Call. The liars and self-promoters at the Washington Post did a huge retrospective of this case not long ago and never mentioned Ms Keller. Ignoring her role in breaking this case was as intellectually dishonest as Jason Blair's work at the New York Times.

  • dave

    no apology necessary for condit he was banging her

  • DaveK

    Thank-you for posting this ladies actual statements. Too often we do the P/C thing too much. She is a real lady with real pain. Her "REAL" words express that. Thanks

  • http://GDADL gdadl

    wonder when Chandra's parents will do the right thing and publicly apologies to Gary Conduit. Chandra was a adult when she had a relationship with him (she was not coerced in any way, what-so-ever), he cooperated with police 100% (all while Chandra's parents kept repeating the lie that he was not) ... yet they went after him Vs waiting for the cops to do their work.

    Yes at the time they were distraught ... but now they have had time to reflect, and they continue to not do the right thing. Mr and Mrs Levy "two wrongs don't make a right. The man who killed Chandra got what he deserved. Gary Conduit did not".

    While it is justice for Chandra ... how about some justice for Gary Conduit.

  • Nightelf

    The accusation that Keller's story was planted says a lot about perceptions of bias in the MSM. Expectations are that the media will indeed provide cover for Democrat politician.

  • drez

    Accusations that the story was planted says a lot about the reality of how a very many stories end up being covered by the media.
    For good or ill or a mix of both.

  • Richard

    Rick Mangus - It's "should HAVE", you ignorant turd.

  • Rick Mangus

    'Richard', is this grammatically correct, FUCK YOU!

  • Typical DC BS

    Yep, glad we have these illegal immigrants among us. I'm sure they're doing a great job mowing our lawns (cause we're too lazy) and gang-banging cause their parents are busy working 2 or three jobs to keep their heads above water (and stay a step ahead of la migra).

    Time to crack down on the dopes that employ them and deport them whenever they are found, and for whatever reason we can make up.

  • Keith

    It's a tragic loss for the Levy family, of course. But the vengeful lack of class shown in Susan Levy's final comments to IG are another factor in the story. It was the Levy family who broke the Condit angle to the press, and Susan rode into town on a blitzkrieg mission to prove that Condit was involved. Her blindness to other possibilities contributed strongly to the failures to solve her daughter's disappearance. Fortunately Guandique was in custody for other reasons, or other young women would have been at risk. This whole case is an object lesson. Thankfully rational people like Keller got involved.