Day 2 in Chandra Levy case
Testimony is under way on the second day of the Chandra Levy trial.
Tuesday morning, another of the women who was attacked by Ingmar Guandique in 2001 in Rock Creek Park took the witness stand in D.C. Superior Court to recount her struggle to escape Guandique's clutches after he set upon her on a deserted jogging trail a couple of months after Levy's disappearance.
Christy Wiegand, 35, a lawyer who now lives in Pittsburgh, was living on Connecticut Avenue nearly a decade ago when she and her then-fiance set out on an early evening run in the park.
Guandique, who was convicted of attacking Wiegand and another woman in 2001 is now charged with killing Levy that same year. Prosecutors are using evidence of those two attacks in the murder case against Guandique.
After hearing from the first victim on Monday, on the opening day of testimony, Wiegand was the government's first witness Tuesday. She spoke in a clear, firm voice as she answered questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines, the lead prosecutor.
Wiegand said she was about 20 minutes into her run when she noticed Guandique near a picnic grove. About 20 minutes later, she turned around to see the same man jogging behind her.
She turned off her music.
"I guess I felt uneasy," she said.
She continued jogging, ascending a steep hill that left her winded.
"As I was reaching the top of the hill, I heard a couple of rapid footsteps," she said. She turned, and in an instant, Guandique had bear-hugged her and pulled a knife on her.
"He held the knife up to my right cheek and his left hand covered my mouth so I couldn't scream," she said.
Still, she tried.
"I was screaming as much as I could, against his hand... I was trying to scream 'No' and 'Help' so that someone might hear me and help me."
In the struggle, they began sliding down a steep embankment, she said. It was then that she thought perhaps she could trick her attacker: "What if I just stopped struggling for a second?"
So she did, and for a moment, Guandique let up and telling her, "Shhhh, shhhh, be quiet."
Instead, she renewed her fight, this time seizing the element of surprise.
"I was going to struggle until I died," said Wiegand, who said she was an active, athletic woman, who, as she did then, stands just almost 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds.
Another 20 or 30 seconds passed, she said, and then Guandique pulled the knife away and fled
Wiegand flagged down a passing motorist, who took her to the Park Police. Officers put out a lookout for her assailant and a short time later, Guandique was picked up and identified by Wiegand as the man who attacked her.
-- Henri Cauvin
Washington Post editors
| October 26, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
Categories: Chandra Levy, From the Courthouse, Homicide
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