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Chandra Levy Trial Update: Ingmar Guandique was Targeted Like Gary Condit was, Says Defense

Chandra Levy with (Personal Photo)

Chandra Levy Trial Update: Ingmar Guandique was Targeted Like Gary Condit was, Says Defense
Chandra Levy and her alleged killer Ingmar Guandique (CBS/AP)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) The defense in the Chandra Levy murder trial told the jury Tuesday that the "tunnel vision" of detectives investigating the Chandra Levy case caused them to zero in on Ingmar Guandique in 2008, the same way it had previously zeroed in on Gary Condit.

PICTURES: Chandra Levy Murdered

A Salvadoran immigrant, Ingmar Guandique, is accused of killing Levy in 2001 while she exercised in Washington's Rock Creek Park. Her remains were found in the park roughly a year after she went missing. Levy's disappearance made headlines when she was romantically linked to Condit, then a congressman representing central California as a Democrat.

On Monday jurors heard from a former cellmate of Guandique's who testified for the defense as a rebuttal witness to the other former cellmate who prosecutors say heard Guandique confess to killing Levy. Jose M. Alaniz testified that he spent nearly 24 hours a day locked in a cell with Guandique and the other cellmate, Armando Morales, and that he ever heard a confession.

On cross examination, however, Alaniz acknowledged that Morales and Guandique spoke mostly in Spanish and that his fluency in that language was limited. He also said it was possible the confession could have taken place while Alaniz was asleep or listening to his headphones.

Chandra Levy Trial Update: Defense Claims "Tunnel Vision" Targeted Client Like it Targeted Gary Condit
Chandra Levy with former Calif. congressman Gary Condit. (Personal Photo)

In her closing Tuesday, public defender Santha Sonenberg said there is powerful evidence of Guandique's innocence, including male DNA from an unknown source that was found on Levy's black running tights. The DNA matches neither Guandique nor Condit, and Guandique's DNA was never found on anything connected to Levy.

PICTURES: Chandra Levy Murdered

The prosecution, in its closing, told the jury that while investigators don't know exactly how the young federal intern died, "You know that what happened in those woods was ghastly," Assistant U.S Attorney Amanda Haines said, according to The Washington Post.

Haines speculated on the scene, suggesting that Levy could have been hogtied or bound to a tree with her running tights, all the while saying "We don't know, and it's best not to think about it," the paper reported.

As for the lack of DNA or other evidence tying Guandique to the scene, prosecutors continued to point to Morales' testimony about the alleged confession and the similarities between the attack on Levy in Rock State Park and the two attacks in the same park for which Guandique is currently serving 10 years in prison.

"Justice is what needs to happen for this young girl," Haines said, holding up a smiling photo of Levy to the jury. "She's been waiting nine years for justice."

On Monday, prosecutors dropped two charges against Guandique alleging that he attempted to kidnap and rob Levy during the commission of his crime. Of the nine charges that had been filed against him, only two murder counts - each charging him with Levy's murder under different legal theories - remain for the jury to consider.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE CHANDRA LEVY CASE

  • Carlin Miller

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