Chandra Levy Murder: Judge holds secret hearings on new information about the credibility of a witness
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Three years after an immigrant from El Salvador was found guilty of the 2001 murder of Washington intern Chandra Levy, a judge is holding secret hearings on new information that may undermine the conviction, CBS This Morning reports.
Court records show that the hearings have been taking place behind closed doors, and neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers have revealed the purpose of the sessions. The next hearing is scheduled for on Feb. 7.
Ingmar Guandique, 30, was sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted in 2010 of killing Levy, whose remains were found in Washington's Rock Creek Park. The case relied largely on testimony from an inmate who served time in prison with Guandique.
But federal prosecutors in the Levy case went before a judge last month and claimed Guandique was convicted with testimony from a witness whose credibility is now in doubt, according to CBS.
The judge then sealed court records and issued a gag order citing safety concerns, the station reports. The case is now shrouded in secrecy, with spectators being kicked out of the courtroom at a subsequent hearing in January.
Not even Levy's parents know what's going on, according to CBS.
"Whether they have to have a new trial or have another suspect, or whatever, we don't know,' said Robert Levy, Chandra Levy's father. "They can't tell us because it's secret."
The case captured the nation's attention because of Levy's relationship with former California congressman Gary Condit. Authorities eventually ruled him out as a suspect and no longer believe he had anything to do with her death.
Guandique was convicted without any physical evidence linking him to the crime, CBS reports. Two women reportedly said he attacked them in Rock Creek Park around the time Levy disappeared, and a jailhouse informant claimed Guandique confessed to the Levy murder.
Guandique's defense attorneys now reportedly accuse prosecutors of withholding key information about a witness. It is unclear which witness is at the center of the request for a new trial, or what information has emerged about that witness due to sealed court records, according to the Washington Post.
"No matter what goes on, our daughter is dead," said Susan Levy, the victim's mother. "It doesn't really matter except that they get the right person."
Guandique has always maintained his innocence.
"He's a convicted rapist and an illegal alien. He's not legal at all or working or anything. He's just a criminal, so he shouldn't go free," Robert Levy said. "But if he's innocent of murder then he shouldn't be in jail for it."
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