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Chandra Levy Trial Update: Gary Condit's DNA Found on Underwear, Prosecution Rests

Chandra Levy with (Personal Photo)

Chandra Levy Trial Update: Gary Condit's DNA Found on Underwear, Prosecution Rests
Chandra Levy with former congressman Gary Condit (Personal Photo)

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) The prosecution's case against Ingmar Guandique, the man they believe murdered federal intern Chandra Levy in 2001, ended abruptly Wednesday after a forensic expert testified that they found DNA from former congressman Gary Condit on underwear recovered from Levy's apartment.

PICTURES: Chandra Levy Murdered

Prosecutors also dropped two attempted sexual assault charges against Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant who is currently serving 10 years for two other sexual assaults in the same D.C.-area park where Levy's body was found. Prosecutors are still pursuing murder and kidnapping charges.

The Levy case became international news after she was romantically linked to Condit, and he was considered the prime suspect in her disappearance and murder. But police no longer believe he had anything to do with her death and Condit testified for the prosecution during the trial.

However, Condit refused to answer any questions about his alleged affair with Levy. Investigators have said they do not believe that the affair links the former congressman to Levy's death in any way.

Levy disappeared May 1, 2001 and her remains were found a year later after all the DNA and other valuable forensic evidence had degraded. The coroner has still not been able to definitively say how Levy was killed, according to The Washington Post.

After the prosecution announced that they would be dropping the sexual assault charges against Guandique, his defense team asked the judge to throw out the entire case for lack of evidence, but Fisher rejected the motion and allowed the case to go forward.

The case has not been an easy one for the prosecution, according to the Post. Aside from not having a cause of death or murder weapon, there is also a dearth of physical evidence tying Guandique to the case.

FBI analysts and private labs conducted extensive DNA testing on Levy's clothes that were recovered along with her remains, but none of the testing found any DNA that could be linked to Guandique or Condit.

In fact, the Post reports the analysts could not even find Levy's own DNA on the clothes.

The only DNA recovered came from about a dozen skin cells found on Levy's running tights. The DNA came from an unknown male and one other person who could have been male or female, a lab analyst testified.

The defense argues the mystery DNA is powerful evidence that a still-unknown perpetrator may have murdered Levy. Prosecutors, and the lab analyst, say they believe the DNA came from accidental contamination during the testing process.

The prosecution called only one witness who could tie Guandique directly to the crime, a former cellmate of his. They had planned to call another inmate who would back up the story but rested without calling him. They also opted not to call the two detectives who ultimately connected the Salvadoran immigrant to the case.

The defense is expected to wrap up their case Monday.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE CHANDRA LEVY CASE

  • Carlin Miller

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