WASHINGTON – A detective who investigated the disappearance of Chandra Levy told a judge Friday that the suspect in the killing of the federal intern appeared to be "nervous" and "shaking" when he was interviewed in a California prison.
Detective Todd Williams of Washington's Metropolitan Police Department appeared in court to answer questions about his prison interview of Ingmar Guandique in 2008. The hearing was being held in preparation for Guandique's trial, set to begin in October.
Guandique, who was in court and listened to a Spanish translation of the proceedings, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Levy's death.
Levy, a native of California, disappeared in 2001 after completing an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Her body was found a year later in Washington's Rock Creek Park.
Williams told the judge that his interview with Guandique lasted between an hour and a half and two hours and that the inmate's legs shook when questioned about the Levy case even as he appeared "indifferent" to the questioning.
Williams, who works in the cold case unit, did not discuss the substance of the interview, but the judge ruled it may be used if necessary in the case.
When he was interviewed in prison, Guandique had been serving a 10-year sentence for two other attacks in the same park where he is now accused of attacking Levy.
Police began revisiting the cold case in 2007 after a new police chief took over. A team of detectives interviewed at least a dozen witnesses and picked up a trail that led them back to Guandique, who had been questioned but not seriously considered earlier as a suspect.
Guandique's attorneys had sought to suppress the interview. They contend Guandique wasn't warned that his statements could be used against him and that his request to stop talking was not honored.
Prosecutors argued that Guandique was free to leave the interview and that he didn't need to be read his Miranda rights at that time. While the judge ruled the interview may be used, it will not necessarily come up at trial.
Lawyers return to court Sept. 22 to resolve other trial details such as whether Levy's mother can attend the proceeding even though she may be a witness.