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Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Levy's death 'ghastly': U.S. Attorney

By Henri E. Cauvin

Update, 2:15 p.m.:

The lead defense attorney for the man charged with killing Chandra Levy told the jury Tuesday that the same sort of tunnel vision that led police to focus on Gary Condit has led them to focus on Ingmar Guandique.

In her closing argument, which was broken up by the lunch break, Santha Sonenberg said investigators have ignored one sign after another that Guandique didn't kill Levy.

"Someone else should be on trial in this case," Sonenberg, of the Public Defender Service, said.

Levy, a 24-year-old former federal intern who was having an affair with Condit, disappeared in 2001 and her remains were discovered a little over a year later in Rock Creek Park.

Sonenberg, more than once, raised the possibility that Levy died elsewhere and that her body was dumped in the park.

Sonenberg sought to distinguish the attack on Levy from two attacks on different women for which Guandique was convicted and is in prison.

She said Guandique fled when his victims in those attacks put up a fight in contrast to what the prosecution suggested was a fight to a fatal end in the Levy attack.

"He's not someone to engage in a struggle the point of death," Sonenberg said of Guandique.

The judge has allowed evidence of those other attacks after finding that they were sufficiently similar to the allegations in the Levy attack warrant consideration by the jury.

The defense's closing will resume later this afternoon followed by the prosecution's rebuttal.

ORIGINAL POST:

In a haunting closing argument, the lead prosecutor in the Chandra Levy death case walked jurors through the horrors the government believes were perpetrated on Levy at the hands of Ingmar Guandique.

"You know that what happened in those woods was ghastly," Assistant U.S Attorney Amanda Haines told the jury Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court.

Even as she acknowledged how little anyone knows about precisely how Levy was attacked, Haines conjured up images of a naked Levy hog-tied or bound to a tree, her own tights the instrument of her confinement.

"We don't know, and it's best not to think about it," Haines said, no doubt intending for jurors to do just that -- to imagine Levy's final minutes or hours of life.

Hoping to bolster the only witness who links Guandique to Levy, Haines outlined a number of ways the government has corroborated the testimony of the witness, Armando Morales.

Morales, who was a cellmate of Guandique's, testified that Guandique admits killing Levy.

Finally, Haines urged the jury not to let the amount of time since Levy's death in 2001 obstruct the pursuit of the truth.

"She's been waiting nine years for justice," Haines said of Levy. "Just because it's been nine years coming doesn't mean it should be denied."

By Henri E. Cauvin  | November 16, 2010; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  Chandra Levy, From the Courthouse, Homicide, The District, Updates  
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Comments

So how do the jurors know what happened in the woods was ghastly? Not from the prosecution, which put on witnesses who said they didn't know how Chandra died, although a broken bone in her neck might point to strangulation. Or it could have been done by animals later. We don't know if she had a heart attack, or died from dehydration. We know nothing, based on the prosecution case.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | November 16, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I would acquit. This is a very weak case.

Posted by: darrren12000 | November 16, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It's wrong for the prosecution to say she was killed in the woods when in fact there is no evidence to show that.

Her body seems to have been found far from where she would likely have been killed if Guandique killed her, which he didn't.

Condit thought she was out of the country.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 16, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

This case does not look good and I still believe Gary C had something to do with it..It is all of the public busy that you where having a affair with this women..you where married and the people elected you based on your honesty and you where found GUILTY of lying and cheating so why should we believe you now...this case is crazy and it does not say that this man has killed anyone...let it go and send him back to his country.

Posted by: shadon1 | November 16, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

LESSON FOR FEMALES:

NEVER VENTURE INTO A WOODED AREA WITHOUT A PARTNER OF SOME SORT. SORRY, GALS, BUT CASE-AFTER-CASE, RAPE-AFTER-RAPE, MURDER-AFTER-MURDER MEANS YOU'RE NOT AS "FREE" AS MALES. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANY OF US HEARD OF AN UNACCOMPANIED GUY OUT JOGGING BEING ATTACKED, RAPED, AND MURDERED ON A WOODLAND TRAIL?

FREEDOM HAS ITS LIMITS. LIKE IT OR NOT.

Posted by: kinkysr | November 16, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@kinkysr:

Being with "a partner of some sort" doesn't necessarily protect you. Halle Shilling was jogging with her finace when Guandique attacked her. Having the tools to protect yourself is better insurance (i.e., Christy Wiegand freed herself from Guandique's grasp by using a technique she'd learned in a self-defense class).

Posted by: jeanne10 | November 22, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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