Several developments in the Chandra Levy murder case could lead to a new trial. New evidence could discredit a witness, defense attorneys for the man convicted of her murder said, and they want a 911 recording released by the prosecution.
A key witness who testified against Ingmar Guandique, 30, the man convicted of murdering Levy while she was jogging in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., in 2002, may be discredited based on new evidence, the Associated Press reports. At a hearing on Thursday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher said the prosecution provided new evidence in November that could discredit the testimony of Armando Morales.
Morales was a former cell mate of Guandique, and he testified that Guandique had confessed to murdering Levy. The two were sharing a cell in a Kentucky prison, and Guandique was worried about being abused in prison if he was convicted of rape. The defense during the initial trial tried to refute Morales' claims by bringing Jose Manuel Alaniz in to testify.
Alaniz, who is not fluent in Spanish, shared the same cell with the two other men in 2006 and claimed he did not hear any confessions from Guandique but admitted to the prosecution that he did not ask any questions while Guandique and Morales were speaking in Spanish, the Washington Post reports.
Judge Fisher did not elaborate as to what evidence the prosecution presented, but during the same hearing the defense attorneys also asked for the release of a 911 recording made by a neighbor of Levy's, the Washington Post reports. The neighbor called 911 from the Northwest D.C. apartment building that Levy also lived in. According to the defense, the neighbor claimed to have heard a "bloodcurdling scream," and the recording was not made available to them by the prosecution during the initial trial. The recent hearings could lead to a new trial, but Guandique's defense attorneys have not officially filed for one.
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Guandique, a native of El Salvador, was in the United States illegally during the time of Levy's death. Levy's murder gained national attention when it was reported that she had had an affair with former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit.
Guandique had previously confessed to assaulting two other women at Rock Creek Park prior to Levy's body being found. Levy's murder was a cold case until 2006, when new investigators were assigned to it. By 2008, new evidence was found that linked Guandique to the murder. The trial began in October 2010, and by the next month Guandique was convicted of the murder of Levy and sentenced to 60 years in prison.