Man who found Levy's remains testifies
The man who first found some of Chandra Levy's remains in Rock Creek Park testified in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday that the police officers who responded to his call "traipsed" up and down the site, making light of the find and acting unprofessionally.
It was "appalling," said Philip Palmer, 50, on the witness stand. Palmer appeared as a witness for the government in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, the man charged with killing Levy.
Palmer said he was walking his puppy and looking for turtle shells on May 22, 2002, when he made a startling discovery near the Western Ridge Trail.
"I found a skull," he explained under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines.
Palmer said he walked about 100 yards to a construction site to find a phone and call police. His 911 call was played back for the jury.
"I'm at 4630 Broad Branch Road," he told the dispatcher. "I was walking my dog in the woods this morning and I came across a human skull."
After taking some additional information, the dispatcher sent an officer to meet Palmer. Having used his dog's leash to mark the spot he discovered, Palmer took the officer back across the creek to the show him what he had found.
Soon, more police officers arrived. Some of them joked about the discovery and wandered carelessly about the scene, Palmer testified, not specifying which police agency or agencies was present.
The missteps of the police in the Levy case, which began in the early days of the investigation, have been well documented. They were expected to be a key obstacle for prosecutors, whose is case is built on cricumstantial evidence and the accounts of informants.
As Palmer recounted the events, a blurry photograph showing some part of Levy's skull was projected onto a large screen facing the jury.
It was Exhibit 422.
Chandra Levy's mother, Susan Levy, who had attended each day of testimony, shook her head, clenching her eyes closed.
-- Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Editors
| October 27, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
Categories: Chandra Levy, From the Courthouse, Homicide, The District, Updates
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