Published January 24, 2013
Prosecutors and defense attorneys from the Chandra Levy murder case are meeting secretly to discuss the testimony of a witness, according to Levy's father, who said he hopes the conviction of his daughter's killer is not in jeopardy.
The U.S. attorney's office in Washington has not commented on the post-trial proceedings, but lawyers on both sides have reportedly met twice since December. Robert Levy told FoxNews.com he had been told the talks involve the testimony of a witness, but did not know the specific subject matter.
"It's all secret," Levy said of the meetings in Washington between federal prosecutors and lawyers for Ingmar Guandique, who is serving a 60-year sentence for Chandra Levy's murder. "No one is allowed in there. It's about some witness."
Chandra Levy, a former congressional intern from Modesto, Calif., was just 24 when she was murdered in Washington, D.C., in 2001, in a case that captivated the nation -- largely because she was romantically linked to Gary Condit, a former five-term U.S. congressman from California. It was more than a year after her death when her body was found in Washington's Rock Creek Park, and the case continued to stymie authorities for years until Washington police arrested Guandique in March 2009. Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who had previously assaulted two other women in the park, was convicted of Levy's murder in February 2011.
Authorities began investigating Guandique, a convicted rapist who was already serving a 10-year federal sentence when he was charged with Levy's murder, after cellmate Armando Morales claimed Guandique confessed to him in prison that he had killed Levy. Morales was a key witness for the prosecution at Guandique's trial, telling jurors that Guandique said he killed Levy while trying to rob her. Morales claimed Guandique denied sexually assaulting Levy.
It is not known if Morales is the witness whose testimony is being discussed. But the talks have led to an agreement to put Guandique's appeal on hold. Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher has ordered Guandique to appear at a Feb. 7 court hearing.
Robert Levy said "it would not be good for anybody" if Guandique was released due to some problem stemming from the prosecution.
Chandra Levy had just completed an internship at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared after leaving her apartment in jogging clothes on May 1, 2001. Her remains and some personal items were discovered by a dog walker one year later in a remote area of Rock Creek Park, a vast network of wooded trails. The case was ruled a homicide, but no cause of death was ever determined.
In the months following Levy's disappearance, suspicion centered on Condit, even though he was never named a suspect by police and was eventually cleared of involvement. The suspicion that surrounded him and the extramarital affair that came to light has been blamed for his re-election loss in 2002.