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Senior portrait of Chandra Levy
|Born||Chandra Ann Levy|
April 14, 1977(1977-04-14)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Disappeared||May 1, 2001(2001-05-01) (aged 24)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Body discovered||May 22, 2002(2002-05-22)|
Rock Creek Park, D.C.
|Alma mater||San Francisco State University|
University of Southern California
|Employer||Federal Bureau of Prisons|
|Home town||Modesto, California, U.S.|
|Parents||Robert and Susan Levy|
The investigation led to media allegations of an extramarital affair with then-U.S. Representative Gary Condit, a five-term Democrat representing California's 18th congressional district and a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Condit was never named a suspect by police and was ultimately cleared of involvement. However, the cloud of suspicion raised by the intense media focus on the missing intern and the later revelation of the affair led to his loss in his 2002 re-election campaign.
The circumstances surrounding Levy's death remained unclear for many years. On March 3, 2009, D.C. authorities obtained a warrant to arrest Ingmar Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who had already been convicted of assaulting two other women in Rock Creek Park around the time of Levy's disappearance. Prosecutors stated that Guandique had attacked and tied up Levy in a remote area of the park, leaving her to die of dehydration or exposure. On November 22, 2010, Guandique was convicted of murdering Levy.
Life and backgroundCleveland, Ohio and grew up in Modesto, California where she attended Grace M. Davis High School. Her parents Robert and Susan Levy are members of Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative Jewish synagogue. She attended San Francisco State University, where she earned a degree in journalism. After interning for the California Bureau of Secondary Education and working in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, she began attending the University of Southern California to earn a Master's degree in Public Administration.
As part of her final semester of study, Levy moved to Washington, D.C. to become a paid intern with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In October 2000, she began her internship at the bureau's central office, where she was assigned to the public affairs division. Her supervisor, bureau spokesperson Dan Dunne, was impressed with Levy's work, especially her handling of media inquiries regarding the upcoming execution of Timothy McVeigh. In January 2001, she told her landlord that she was considering breaking the lease of her apartment at Dupont Circle to move in with a boyfriend, but changed her mind by the following month because "it didn't work out."
Levy's internship was abruptly terminated in April 2001, because her academic eligibility was found to have expired in December 2000. She had already completed her Master's degree requirements and was scheduled to return to California in May 2001 for graduation.
Disappearance and searchMetropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia were first alerted on May 6, when Levy's parents called from Modesto to report that they had not heard from their daughter in five days. Police visited Levy's apartment in Dupont Circle that same day and again over the next few days, finding no indication of foul play. On May 7, Levy's father told the police that his daughter had been having an affair with a Congressman, and on the next day told police he believed that Congressman to be Gary Condit. The same day, Levy's aunt called the police and told them that Chandra had confided in her about the affair. On May 10, police obtained a warrant and formally searched Levy's apartment. It was determined that on the morning of May 1, the day she was last seen, Levy or someone else had used her laptop computer to do an internet search for Klingle Mansion, located in Rock Creek Park. On July 25, 2001, three D.C. police sergeants and 28 police cadets searched along Glover Road in the park but failed to find evidence related to Levy. A second, later attempt also produced nothing.
They're looking for answers, and we don't have them yet.—Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, D.C. Metro Police Department
Scandal and Levy's parents and friends held numerous vigils and news conferences in an attempt to "bring Chandra home." Condit, a married man who represented the congressional district in which the Levy family resided, at first denied that he had had an affair with her. His later statements left open the possibility of an affair. Even though police repeatedly stated that Condit was not a suspect, many in the media, along with Levy's family, felt that Condit was still being evasive and possibly hiding information about the matter. Police searched Condit's apartment. Condit later refused to submit to a polygraph test administered by the D.C. police. He also tried to avoid answering direct questions during a televised interview on August 23, 2001, with news anchor Connie Chung on the ABC News program Primetime Thursday. Intensive coverage continued until news of the September 11 attacks supplanted the media's coverage of the Levy case.
Condit appeared before a District of Columbia grand jury investigating the disappearance. He subsequently lost the Democratic primary election for his Congressional seat in March 2002, the Levy controversy being cited as a contributing factor. Condit left Congress at the end of his term in 2003. Later that year, Susan Levy participated in the efforts to find another missing Modesto woman, Laci Peterson.
We are parents, and our only concern is about finding our daughter.—Susan Levy, 2002
Discovery of remainsCharles H. Ramsey announced on May 22, 2002, that remains matching Levy's dental records had been found by a man walking his dog and looking for turtles in Rock Creek Park. Though police had previously searched well over half the area of the 2,000-acre (Template:Rnd/c4dec1 |8.1|(1)}} km2) park, they later stated that they had not searched one particular area due to its remoteness. Levy's remains were found there, a mile (1.6 km) north of the Klingle Mansion and about four miles (6 km) from Levy's apartment. After a preliminary autopsy was performed, District of Columbia police announced that there was sufficient evidence to begin a homicide investigation. On May 28, the medical examiner officially declared Levy's death a homicide.
Arrest of suspected killer Guandique was already serving time at the U.S. Penitentiary at Victorville, California. He was reputedly part of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, but denied attacking Levy. Police chief Ramsey called him a "person of interest". On November 28, the Federal Bureau of Investigation administered a polygraph test, which Guandique failed. Another test, administered on February 4, 2002, returned inconclusive results.
The Levy homicide remained listed as a "cold case" until March 3, 2009, when the Superior Court of the District of Columbia issued an arrest warrant for Guandique. On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Guandique was charged with Chandra Levy's murder. Guandique pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, where a trial date was set for January 27, 2010. Due to evidence processing errors, the start date at the Moultrie Courthouse was moved to October 4, 2010.
Trial of Guandique
On November 1, 2010, Condit testified at the trial and was asked at least three times whether he had an intimate relationship with Levy. He replied, "I am not going to respond to that question out of privacy for myself and Chandra." An FBI biologist testified that sperm matching Condit's DNA profile was found on underwear from Levy's apartment. Prosecution witness Armando Morales testified that he was a cellmate to whom Guandique confided his concern about violence against suspected rapists in prison. Morales stated that Guandique admitted killing Levy while trying to rob her, but said that he did not rape her. The prosecution rested their case on November 10, and dropped two of the six charges against Guandique: sexual assault and felony murder associated with that sexual assault. On November 15, the defense rested its case without calling Guandique to the stand. Other prison witnesses called by the defense refuted Morales' testimony. Jose Manuel Alaniz said that Guandique made no mention of rape or murder while sharing a cell with both Alaniz and Morales. The prosecution dropped two more charges because the statute of limitations had expired: attempted kidnapping and attempted robbery. During closing arguments for the two remaining charges of first degree murder, prosecutor Amanda Haines contended that Guandique bound and gagged Levy after attacking her, leaving her to die of dehydration or exposure in the park. Defense attorney Santha Sonenberg brought up the lack of DNA evidence connecting Guandique to the crime scene. She suggested that Levy was murdered elsewhere, with her dead body being dumped in the park.
The jury began deliberations on November 17, 2010. Scheduled proceedings of the case met delays because of increased security at the courthouse. After two days of deliberations, all but one juror had voted to convict Guandique. On the third day, the jury asked Judge Gerald Fisher to clarify the definition of assault. Fisher responded that any physical injury could legally be considered an assault, regardless of how small. On November 22, 2010, the jury found Guandique guilty of both counts of first degree murder. He faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. After the trial, a juror stated that the testimony of Morales was decisive in reaching the verdict. Guandique is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2011.
Criticism of media coverageThe Levy case was the subject of a great deal of media coverage in the summer of 2001, especially on U.S. cable news networks such as MSNBC, CNN and Fox News. Following the September 11 attacks, media critics and the cable news executives themselves cited the Levy case, as well as the concurrent sensational coverage of a string of shark attacks, as being evidence of the media in action, as well as illustrating the manner of U.S. news coverage immediately preceding a major attack on the country. In 2005, investigative journalist Dominick Dunne said on Larry King Live that he believed Gary Condit knew more information about the Levy case than he had been disclosing. Condit filed two lawsuits against Dunne, forcing him into an undisclosed financial settlement on one of them. In 2008, U.S. District Judge Peter Leisure dismissed the other suit that alleged slander, because "The context in which Dunne's statements were made demonstrates that they were part of a discussion about 'speculation' in the media and inaccurate media coverage."
During the summer of 2008, The Washington Post ran a 13-part series billed, in part, as "a tale of the tabloid and mainstream press pack journalism that helped derail the investigation." The two investigative reporters behind the Post series, Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz, wrote a book detailing their investigation. The book, Finding Chandra, was released in May 2010. Commentators, including The Washington Post Metro reporter Robert Pierre wrote that emphasis on a glamorous white murder victim, when "about 200 people are killed in this city every year, most of them black and male," was "absolutely absurd and dare I say, racist, at its core."
The media were criticized for their "rush to judgment" in suggesting, sometimes blatantly, that Condit was guilty of the murder, especially in the early days of the investigation. Some of the reporters camped in front of Condit's Washington apartment house were quoted as saying that they would remain there "until he resigns." When Ingmar Guandique was convicted in November 2010 of murdering Levy, Condit's lawyer Bert Fields remarked, "It's a complete vindication but that comes a little late. Who gives him his career back?"
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- ^ Franken, Bob (July 7, 2001). "Police sources: Condit admits to affair with Levy". CNN. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/07/07/condit.missing.intern/. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ a b c d Levine, Mike (February 22, 2009). "Levy Parents 'Bittersweet' Over News of Expected Arrest in Daughter's Murder". Fox News Channel. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,497964,00.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
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- ^ a b c Horwitz, Sari; Higham, Scott; Moreno, Sylvia (July 13, 2008). "Who Killed Chandra Levy?, Chapter Two: The Gentleman from Ca.". The Washington Post: pp. 1–2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch2_1.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
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- ^ a b c Horwitz, Sari; Higham, Scott; Moreno, Sylvia (July 13, 2008). "Who Killed Chandra Levy?, Chapter One: A Young Woman Disappears". The Washington Post: pp. 1–3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch1_1.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ a b Horwitz, Sari; Higham, Scott; Moreno, Sylvia (July 16, 2008). "Who Killed Chandra Levy?, Chapter Four: The Levys". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch4_1.html. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- ^ a b c Horwitz, Sari; Higham, Scott; Moreno, Sylvia (July 22, 2008). "Who Killed Chandra Levy?, Chapter Nine: Media Frenzy". The Washington Post: pp. 1–2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch9_1.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ Lengel, Allan (May 5, 2002). "50 Join Levy Family at Anniversary Vigil". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/18/AR2008061801726.html. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- ^ a b c Horwitz, Sari; Higham, Scott; Moreno, Sylvia (July 22, 2008). "Who Killed Chandra Levy?, Chapter Ten: A Jailhouse Informant". The Washington Post: pp. 1–2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch10_1.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ a b "Condit's slander suit over Chandra Levy dismissed". Reuters. July 9, 2008. http://in.reuters.com/article/idINN0828554520080708. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
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- ^ a b Twomey, Steve; Horwitz, Sari (May 23, 2002). "Chandra Levy's Remains Found in Park By Dog". The Washington Post: p. A01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/18/AR2008061801755.html. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- ^ Smoot, Kelly Marshall; Courson, Paul (November 15, 2010). "Sources: More charges dropped against suspect in Chandra Levy killing". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/11/15/dc.chandra.levy.trial/. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- ^ "D.C. v. Ingmar Guandique". FindLaw. March 3, 2009. http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/chandralevy/guandique30309cmp.html. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
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- ^ a b Doyle, Michael (September 24, 2010). "Lawyers prepare for center stage in Chandra Levy murder trial". The McClatchy Company. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/09/24/v-print/101122/lawyers-prepare-for-center-stage.html. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- ^ Alexander, Keith L. (October 18, 2010). "Jury selection begins in Levy case". The Washington Post: p. B4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/18/AR2010101805735.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ Alexander, Keith L. (November 2, 2010). "Condit refuses to testify about whether he had affair with Levy". The Washington Post: p. A1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/01/AR2010110107051.html. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
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- ^ Barakat, Matthew (November 10, 2010). "Prosecutors rest in Chandra Levy murder trial". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press: p. A1. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/11/10/state/n133024S13.DTL. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
- ^ Alexander, Keith L. (November 11, 2010). "A surprise courtroom move in Levy trial". The Washington Post: p. B1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/10/AR2010111007398.html. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
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- ^ Alexander, Keith L. (November 18, 2010). "Long lines from tightened security delay justice at D.C. Superior Court". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/18/AR2010111805657.html. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
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- ^ "Levy Jury Asks for Legal Definition of Assault". WRC-TV. November 19, 2010. http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local-beat/Levy-Jury-Asks-for-Legal-Definition-of-Assault-109277174.html. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
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- ^ Cohen, mark (February 22, 2009). "With 20/20 Hindsight, Condit Story Was Better Than Truth". Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/22/700629/-With-20-20-Hindsight,-Condit-Story-Was-Better-Than-Truth. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ Perrier, Phil (August 21, 2006). "Was There a Rush To Judgment?". Los Angeles Daily News. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/WAS+THERE+A+RUSH+TO+JUDGMENT%3F-a0149874106. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ "Respect Mahh Authori-tay!!!". October 1, 2001. http://www.netcrucible.com/blog/2001/10/01/respect-mahh-authori-tay/. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- ^ Bozell III, L. Brent (August 22, 2001). "Is This a Condit Country?". Media Research Center. http://www.mediaresearch.org/BozellColumns/newscolumn/2001/col20010822.asp. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- ^ "Jury convicts Guandique of murdering Chandra Levy". USA Today. USA Today. November 22, 2010. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-11-22-chandra-levy-verdict_N.htm. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
- Higham, Scott; Horwitz, Sari (2010). Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery. New York City: Scribner. ISBN 978-1439138670. OCLC 430842090. http://books.simonandschuster.com/Finding-Chandra/Scott-Higham/9781439138670.
- Chandra Levy case, at America's Most Wanted
- Chandra Levy coverage at the Modesto Bee
- Chandra Levy murder case at truTV
- Chandra Levy at Find a Grave
- Chandra Levy case timeline (2000-2002) at ABC News
- Chandra Levy case timeline (2000-2010) at The Washington Post
- Homicide Investigation—Chandra Ann Levy by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (mirrored by the Internet Archive)
- "Who Killed Chandra Levy?" – 12-part series from The Washington Post