Jury Convicts Ingmar Guandique in Chandra Levy's Murder

Convict found guilty in missing intern's death

ByABC News
October 24, 2010, 6:51 PM

Nov. 22, 2010 — -- A jury found Ingmar Guandique guilty of murdering Chandra Levy, the Capitol Hill intern whose mysterious disappearance in 2001 gripped the country after it was alleged she had been romantically involved with married California congressman Gary Condit.

Guandique was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for attacking and killing Levy.

Police finally caught up with Guandique, 29, nine years after Levy dissapeared. The Salvadoran immigrant was already in prison, serving a 10 year sentence related to assaults in Washington D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, the same park where Levy vanished while jogging on May 1, 2001.

Authorities had questioned Condit several times, but he was never charged. He has never publicly acknowledged an affair with Levy. A lawyer for Condit said the former congressman would likely not be making a statement on the verdict. Condit has written a book about the investigation, which he has said would not publish until after the trial.

Levy's mother Susan Levy told ABC News she was pleased with the verdict, but compared losing her daughter to receiving her own "lifetime sentence." After staying in Washington for the month-long trial, Susan Levy will return to the family's home in Modesto, Calif.

"Chandra Levy and her family deserved justice. That it took this long is unforgivable. Our father will tell his story at the appropriate time," Condit's children Cadee and Chad Condit said in a written statement.

"The Chandra Levy case was really the perfect storm in the summer of 2001," Sari Horwitz, a Washington Post reporter and author of "Finding Chandra" told "Good Morning America" when the trial began last month.

"It became a parlor game in Washington. Everybody was obsessed with the idea that Gary Condit, congressman from California, had something to do with this murder of a young intern."

The allegations pushed Condit's political career to the brink and in July 2001, sources told ABC News that Condit had admitted having a sexual relationship with Levy to police. In an interview with ABC News' "Primetime," he denied knowing anything about Levy's disappearance and stated that he did not kill her. No evidence ever connected Condit to Levy's disappearance.

Last year after a decade without any actionable leads, authorities charged Guandique with murder, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault among other counts. Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, was already serving a 10-year sentence for separate assaults that took place in Rock Creek Park.

Chandra Levy's Killer Found Guilty

At trial prosecutors said Guandique admitted to other inmates that he killed Levy.

Condit testified at the trial telling the court he had nothing to do with Levy's disappearance but refused to answer questions about his relationship with Levy.

"I think we're all entitled to some level of privacy ... It seems like in this country we've lost a sense of decency. I didn't commit any crime; I don't think I've done anything wrong," he told the prosecutor.

Prosecutors acknowledged in their opening statement that police failed in the Levy investigation by focusing on Condit to the exclusion of others, allowing Guandique to "hide in plain sight" as investigators failed to link Levy's disappearance with the attacks on the other joggers in Rock Creek Park, even though Levy had looked up information on Rock Creek Park on her laptop right before she disappeared.

Defense attorneys have said the investigation was bungled so badly that it has been impossibly compromised and Guandique has been made a scapegoat.

ABC News' Lee Ferran and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information about the investigation into Chandra Levy’s disappearance and murder.