Suspect in Chandra Levy murder case arrives in DC before initial court appearance

Levy slaying suspect arrives in DC for court date

WASHINGTON — The suspect in the slaying of intern Chandra Levy has arrived in the nation’s capital, where he is expected to appear in court on a first-degree murder charge.

Ingmar Guandique, 27, was brought late Wednesday afternoon to the D.C. police’s homicide branch to be charged with first-degree murder and booked. The illegal immigrant from El Salvador was driven in a dark Chevrolet sedan, and escorted into the building by three detectives.

Handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Guandique walked with his head down. A reporter asked if Guandique had anything to say, and the prisoner did not respond.

Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Guandique’s first court appearance will likely be Thursday in District of Columbia Superior Court. Phillips has said a grand jury will convene to consider indicting Guandique, but he could not say when. In D.C., suspects must be indicted within nine months of being charged.

The inmate has been kept in a D.C. jail since his arrival Monday from a Federal Bureau of Prisons transfer center in Oklahoma City.

D.C. police issued an arrest warrant in the Levy case on March 3 for Guandique, who was serving a 10-year sentence for an assault conviction at a federal prison in Adelanto, Calif.

The warrant accuses him of sexually assaulting and killing Levy on a trail in Rock Creek Park in May 2001. The Modesto, Calif., native’s remains were found in the Washington park a year later.

The 24-year-old Levy had just completed an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared after leaving her apartment in jogging clothes.

Last month, police released a detailed affidavit with the arrest warrant, listing a dozen witnesses who helped point investigators to Guandique. At least two of the witnesses claim Guandique told them he killed Levy.

The announcement was a long-awaited break in a case that has long stumped the city’s police department and led to harsh criticism that the initial investigation was bungled because police missed leads and even searched the wrong part of the park for Levy’s body. When the remains were found, they were so decayed police couldn’t recover much evidence.

The Levy case has been blamed for destroying the political career of former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit of California, who was romantically linked to Levy. Authorities questioned the Democrat who represented the district where Levy grew up, but he was never a suspect in her death.

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