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Prosecutors Move To Drop Murder Charges Against Man Accused Of Killing Chandra Levy

Ingmar Guandique is escorted from the Violent Crimes Unit by police in Washington, D.C., in 2009.
Jacquelyn Martin
Ingmar Guandique is escorted from the Violent Crimes Unit by police in Washington, D.C., in 2009.

Prosecutors moved to drop murder charges against Ingmar Guandique, who was accused of killing 24-year-old Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy in 2001. The judge immediately approved and dismissed the case on Thursday.

The Levy case "made headlines across the nation because of the victim's romantic involvement when then-Rep. Gary Condit," as The Two-Way reported.

Guandique was convicted of Levy's murder in 2010 but had been awaiting a new trial after his attorneys argued that a former cellmate had given misleading testimony. That trial was set to start in October.

Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office in D.C. said in court documents filed Thursday that they dropped the charges because of "new information that the government received within the past week." They added: "After investigating this information and reviewing all of the evidence in this case, the government now believes it is in the interests of justice for the Court to dismiss the case without prejudice."

In a statement, prosecutors said that following the judge's approval, "Mr. Guandique will then be released to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where he faces removal proceedings."

Here's some background on the long-running legal case from The Two-Way:

"Guandique was found guilty in November 2010 of Levy's 2001 murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The illegal immigrant from El Salvador had been serving time for other attacks on women in Washington's Rock Creek Park. He was charged with Levy's murder in 2009.

"The case drew headlines across the nation because of 23-year-old Levy's affair with then-Congressman Gary Condit, a California Democrat. Police questioned Condit multiple times in connection with her disappearance. Levy's body was found in Rock Creek Park in 2002.

"Condit subsequently lost the Democratic primary and left Congress in 2003."

As we reported, a new trial was ordered for Guandique in May 2015 after his attorneys argued that "his one-time cellmate, Armando Morales, had given misleading testimony in the 2010 trial."

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Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.