Chandra Levy's mother spoke out on Thursday, July 28, after a judge dismissed murder charges against a man accused of killing the Washington, D.C., intern in 2001.
The United States attorney's office in Washington announced on Thursday that it was dropping charges against Ingmar Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who was convicted in 2010 of killing the 24-year-old intern. Guandique was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the murder but was granted a new trial last year after the credibility of a main witness in the trial was called into question.
"Today, in the interests of justice and based on recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week, the office moved to dismiss the case charging Ingmar Guandique with the May 2001 murder of Chandra Levy. The office has concluded that it can no longer prove the murder case against Mr. Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt," the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
"I am totally in a state of shock," Levy's mother, Susan, said in an interview with KCRA on Thursday. "I am sick to my stomach and am having trauma and grief all over again. We all want our truth. I want to make sure we find out the truth. My husband and I hope that justice is found for our family.
"I always want justice," she continued. "But even if I get justice, it doesn't bring calm back to a family that's been fractured by a horrendous crime like this. … I am feeling pretty shocky right now, physically and emotionally not doing very well. It kind of like puts you back to the level of grief that you originally have."
Levy, an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, went missing in May 2001, and her remains were found a year later in Rock Creek Park. Soon after her disappearance, her case gained national attention when Levy's family claimed she'd had a relationship with married California congressman Gary Condit. He was cleared of involvement in her murder, and Guandique, who had pleaded guilty to assaulting two other women in the same park where Levy's remains were found, became the focus of the investigation.
He was charged in 2009, and the case relied heavily on the testimony of a fellow inmate, Armando Morales, who said Guandique had admitted to killing Levy. CNN reports that the public defender's office said Guandique had always maintained his innocence and passed a lie detector test. Last year his attorneys petitioned for a new trial, claiming that Morales' testimony was a lie.
Morales insisted that he had never "snitched" before, according to The New York Times, but prosecutors later admitted that they had withheld evidence from the defense that Morales had helped the authorities at other times.
KCRA reports that Condit's attorney released a statement on Thursday saying, "The failure of authorities to bring formal closure to this tragedy after 15 years is very disappointing but in no way alters the fact that Mr. Condit was long ago completely exonerated by authorities in connection with Ms. Levy's death."
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