WASHINGTON — A man imprisoned for attacking two female joggers was found guilty Monday of murdering Washington intern Chandra Levy, wrapping up a murder mystery that took down a congressman and captured the nation's attention a decade ago.
Ingmar Guandique, 29, was convicted of first-degree murder for attacking Levy, 24, while she exercised in Washington's Rock Creek Park in May 2001. Her disappearance made headlines when she was romantically linked to then-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif. Condit was once a suspect, but police no longer believe he was involved in her disappearance.
Speaking outside the courthouse, Levy's mother said she'll never be free from the pain of losing her daughter. "I have a lifetime sentence of a lost limb missing from our family tree," Susan Levy said. "It's a lifetime of a broken heart."
Investigators eventually focused on Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, and brought formal charges last year. Prosecutors acknowledged they had little direct evidence but said Levy's death fit a pattern of other crimes committed by Guandique in the park.
The defense argued that the Guandique (pronounced gwahn-DEE'-kay) became a scapegoat for a botched investigation. Levy's body was found about a year after she disappeared.
Guandique could face up to life in prison without parole.
In a telephone interview, Condit's lawyer Bert Fields said the verdict represents a vindication that comes too late to repair the damage to the career of his client. Still, trial testimony that Condit's DNA was on underwear at Levy's apartment bolstered the idea that the married politician had an affair with the intern.
"At least Gary Condit can find some measure of closure to this nightmare," Fields said.