Newly released court documents raise startling new questions about the credibility of the star witness in the murder trial of a man convicted of killing Capitol Hill intern Chandra Levy in 2001.
Hundreds of pages of documents released this week reveal that a cellmate of Ingmar Guandique who testified that he confessed to the sensational crime had previously told police about other supposed crimes, apparently in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.
Lawyers have been discussing information that could discredit the cellmate, Armando Morales.
Defense attorneys for Guandique plan to demand a new trial based on information that calls Morales’ testimony into question.
They will likely file that request with Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher in coming months.
The 2001 disappearance of Levy became front page news after she was romantically linked with then-Rep. Gary Condit of California. He was questioned about her disappearance, but police no longer believe he was involved.
The 24-year-old Jewish intern’s body was found in Washington’s Rock Creek Park in 2002, and Guandique, who had previously been convicted of attacking women in the park, was ultimately charged.
There was no physical evidence linking Guandique to the crime scene or any testimony that he knew her. He was linked to several other attacks on joggers in Rock Creek Park, the leafy enclave where Chandra Levy’s remains were found.
The recent round of legal sparring began last year when new information about Morales surfaced. In a highly unusual move, Fisher held the hearings in secret over concerns for Morales’ security.
The transcripts of the hearings were kept secret until the judge agreed to release redacted versions this week.
Most of the information was known before. What Guandique’s attorneys were apparently not told until recently, was that Morales told prosecutors that he had previously told police about other crimes. That might have called into question his claims that Guandique confessed to the Levy murder.
In 1998, for example, Morales discussed three murders with prosecutors. He also discussed drug and weapons dealing that was going on inside a Georgia prison where he was then imprisoned.