Jury selection begins in Levy case
Jury selection in the Chandra Levy trial has begun.
D.C. Superior Court officials are calling in 56 potential jurors at a time. Each of them is required to fill out an 11-page questionnaire that has 55 questions.
Most of the questions are standard for any trial, such as questions about involvement with the criminal justice system. Only a few are specific to the Levy case. For example, the form asks for a juror's opinion about gang affiliation.
The suspect, in Levy's slaying, Ingmar Guandique, 29, is a member of the MS-13 gang. Guandique entered the United States illegally from El Salvador in 2000 and worked as a day laborer. He is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in Levy’s death.
Authorities are convinced that Guandique attacked, raped and killed Levy in a secluded area of Rock Creek Park about May 1, 2001. But securing a conviction could be difficult. There is no DNA or eyewitness.
Prosecutors are pinning their case primarily on statements that Guandique allegedly made to other prisoners and in letters he wrote. He confessed to assaulting two female joggers in the park about the same time Levy was killed. He was sentenced to 10 years for those attacks and was serving his sentence in a California prison.
Guandique is in court Monday with an olive suit and a yellow turtle neck. The attire covers a gang tattoo in his neck.
Lawyers and Judge Gerald Fisher will begin reviewing the questionnaires today and tomorrow and the arduous process of winnowing the pool will begin Wednesday.
Levy's disappearance and slaying captivated the country in the weeknd before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, largely because of her affair with then- U.S. Rep. Gary A. Condit. Condit represented Levy's hometown of Modesto, Calif.
During jury selection, prosecutors mentioned Condit's name, either as a potential witness at trial or someone whose name would come up.
Levy, 24, who came to Washington to intern with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, went missing on May 1, 2001. Her remains were found on May 22, 2002.
(This post has been updated.)
Washington Post editors
| October 18, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Chandra Levy, From the Courthouse, Homicide, Keith L. Alexander, The District
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