In the weeks before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the disappearance of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy was the nation’s biggest news story. Speculation swirled about her relationship with a California congressman, Gary Condit. Then Condit and Levy were largely forgotten until 2002, when her remains were found in sprawling Rock Creek Park. In 2010, Ingmar Guandique, an immigrant from El Salvador living in the U.S. illegally, was convicted of Levy’s slaying and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Now, more than 15 years after her disappearance, Levy is back in the news, and her death is again a mystery, reports the Associated Press. Prosecutors announced yesterday that they were dropping all charges against Guandique, who was given a new trial last year after doubts were raised about a key witness at his 2010 trial. The Washington Post reports that a woman taped a conversation with the witness in which he says he lied when he testified that his former cellmate Guandique had confessed to killing Levy. Guandique’s lawyers in the public defender’s office said their client has been vindicated. “Finally, the government has had to concede the flaws in its ill-gotten conviction,” the lawyers said, noting that Guandique had passed an FBI-administered lie detector test regarding his involvement. Guandique, who served time for attacks on joggers in Rock Creek Park, will be released to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and faces deportation.