A Mystery Turned Scandal | Chandra Levy
Episode 19

A Mystery Turned Scandal | Chandra Levy

In May of 2001, 24 year-old Chandra Levy dissapeared while working an internship in Washington D.C. Her apparent affair with an older Congressman made the case a media sensation. But when her remains were found a year later, another suspect was arrested. So what happened to Chandra? Rasha and Yvette discuss the twists and turns […]

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In The Episode

Trevor Young 00:03

You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the individuals participating in the show, and do not represent those of iHeart Radio or Tenderfoot TV. This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Yvette Gentile 00:28

Hi, everyone, welcome back to Facing Evil from Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio. We are your hosts. I'm Yvette Gentile.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:36

And I'm Rasha Pecoraro. And as always, our fabulous producer, Mr. Trevor Young is with us.

Trevor Young 00:43

Hey, there. Happy November.

Yvette Gentile 00:44

Happy November, Trevor.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:47

I can't believe the year's almost over.

Yvette Gentile 00:48

I know. I've had this on my mind for, you know, probably the last couple of weeks, you know, we talked about, you know, Kitty Genovese, right, a couple of weeks ago. And it just stuck with me like how she kind of got lost, you know, back then in that era, because, you know, they were so focused on the 38 bystanders that we really lost focus of who Kitty was and what her story was about, you know, and today, we're going to be talking about Chandra Levy. And again, you know, another young woman taken too soon. And, again, the media loses focus, because they, they get so fixated on, you know, the Gary Condit, the political candidate.

Rasha Pecoraro 01:39

The sensationalism of it all.

Yvette Gentile 01:40

Right. I feel so proud, you know, what we're doing here on Facing Evil, because we really want to highlight, you know, who these women were, you know, at the peak of their, their career just about to get started. And then something horrible happens to them. And, again, their story gets lost.

Trevor Young 02:05

Yeah, I mean, I think that's definitely a thing we try and do on Facing Evil, right, is strip away all the fluff and try and get down to the, the stories of these victims, right, and talk about it from an angle that maybe not everybody else talks about. And that is the person, right, that's getting to the real empathy of any of these cases is talking about the victim. So, you know, I think that's great. And I think this case study is probably a great example of that.

Yvette Gentile 02:33

Absolutely, Trevor, and with that being said, will you please take us through today's case?

News Clip 02:41

The search is on in the district for a missing woman. Her name is Chandra Ann Levy. She is 24-years-old, and hasn't been seen since April 30.

Archival 02:51

Susan Levy came to our city with a mission. She wanted to know where her daughter was, what happened to Chandra. A staffer for the Congressman says there was no romantic relationship between the congressman and Ms. Levy.

Trevor Young 03:09

Chandra Levy was a 24-year-old woman who disappeared in May of 2001. At the time, she had just wrapped up an internship in Washington, D.C., and was getting ready to go back home to California, but Chandra never made it home. On May 6, Chandra's parents contacted D.C. police saying they hadn't heard from her in days, and so a search began, but they didn't find her. Months later, her remains were discovered by a hiker in Rock Creek Park. The story of Chandra Levy's disappearance and death became a national obsession when it came to light that Levy had a romantic relationship with a married congressman leading up to her death. The investigation and eventual prosecution were marred by ineptitude. And to this day, it's unclear who killed Chandra Levy. And so who was Chandra Levy? Who is actually responsible for her murder? And what does this story tell us about how police handle homicide investigations when a high profile politician is involved?

Yvette Gentile 04:16

So, Rasha, I remember that this was one of those cases that was literally all over the media. And, again, people couldn't stop talking about it. And I remember living in LA because this was in 2001. 

Rasha Pecoraro 04:30


Yvette Gentile 04:31

Yeah, together with mom. And I remembered being somewhat fixated on it because, you know, again, we're talking about a young woman, a young intern, right, and going back years ago to the Bill Clinton era with Monica Lewinsky. So, I definitely was captivated by this particular case.

Rasha Pecoraro 04:55

Yeah, I think we all were and I remember, you know, her face on every magazine, on every news story, every headline. And, Trevor, like you said in the top of the episode, you know, there was this young, smart, you know, student just on the cusp of what seemed like such a bright and sparkling future. And she likely had this high profile affair with this lawmaker. And people were talking about whether or not that had been a cover up, if he was involved somehow, it, you know, I mean, again, like you said, Yvette, Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, like all these things go through all of our heads. And I'll admit that's, I think, why I was captivated at first. 

Yvette Gentile 05:38

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Trevor Young 05:40

I do think that unlike the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, this case had a relatively shorter lifespan. You know, there was definitely a period in the media where this case was obsessed over because of the, you know, quote, unquote, scandalous relationship with a politician. But, you know, those leads connecting the politician to her murder eventually did go dry. And it became very clear that the authorities had just kind of botched this investigation. And that is kind of when the public's attention started looking away from it. It wasn't as interesting anymore, right. And that's kind of a big tragedy in this case. So I think there are many moments where the police mishandled their job, they mishandled this investigation, they try and pin it on someone else. And I think you can't really like help but wonder, like had more of the public eyes stayed on them, would they have done a better job, right? Would this have gotten solved eventually?

Rasha Pecoraro 06:36


Yvette Gentile 06:36

True, true. True. I mean, you know, let's just begin with our classic question, who was Chandra Levy?

Rasha Pecoraro 06:45

Chandra Levy was 24-years-old. She was born in Ohio, but the family moved to California. And actually, it was Modesto, where she went to high school. She ended up graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism, and she briefly worked in the office of the Los Angeles mayor. She then enrolled in graduate school at the University of Southern California for a Master's in Public Administration. In September of 2000, she ended up moving to Washington, D.C., and it was there that she worked as an intern with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Yvette Gentile 07:21

And this is where she met Gary Condit. Condit was a Democratic congressman from California. He was also 52-years-old and married. And he took a liking to Chandra.

Trevor Young 07:35

Yeah, I mean, obviously, this is something we see a lot, right, is the older politicians, men almost always, right... 

Rasha Pecoraro 07:43

Almost always. 

Trevor Young 07:44

Find themselves in a position of power where they can potentially take advantage of a young intern, right? You heard about this a lot in the 90s and 2000s.

Yvette Gentile 07:54

Yes, that's right. And apparently on a visit during Thanksgiving, Chandra tells her aunt that she's seeing someone, but she refuses to name any names. However, she did reportedly tell her aunt that her boyfriend was in his 50s and he looked like Harrison Ford, which he didn't. I'm just saying.

Rasha Pecoraro 08:18

I think he did a little bit. I think he looked a little bit like Harrison Ford.

Yvette Gentile 08:23

I mean, just because he's older with salt and pepper hair. 

Rasha Pecoraro 08:27


Yvette Gentile 08:27

But she did reveal that her boyfriend was, in fact, a congressman. So she's leaving a lot of hints, but never said the name.

Rasha Pecoraro 08:36

Yeah, she never said the name specifically to anyone that we know of. 

Yvette Gentile 08:41

Right, right. Anyway, the next month over winter break, she emails a friend and says and this is her quote, my man will be coming back here when Congress starts up again. And I'm looking forward to seeing him. Again. She's not naming any names. She's not being specific. Right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 08:41


Yvette Gentile 09:03

So in January, Chandra tells her landlord that she won't be renewing her lease because she'll be moving in with her boyfriend. But by February, she changed plans and tells her landlord that it hadn't worked out.

Rasha Pecoraro 09:19

Okay, so I guess that's that and the relationship was over. Anyway, we do know that April 23 is the last day of Chandra's internship. And we also know that on April 29, Gary Condit actually called Chandra. And on the same day, Chandra called her auntie in Maryland and left her a message saying she has quote, some big news. 

Yvette Gentile 09:44

Yeah, but we just don't know what was said on that phone call. Right?

Rasha Pecoraro 09:48

Nobody knows what the big news was, right?

Trevor Young 09:50

Yeah, I mean, I don't think we ever really do. We do know she's set to go back to California for her graduation from USC, which is scheduled for May 11 that year, and in an April 28 email to her landlord, she wrote, quote, I'm moving back to California for my graduation. And I'm moving back there for good, end quote. And then on May 1, she emailed her parents with her travel plans, but again, doesn't mention specific times or how she'll be getting home. That email was sent at 10:45am Eastern time that day, May 1. And that is actually the last known communication from Chandra Levy. And we'll talk about what happened after we take a quick break.

Rasha Pecoraro 10:37

Five days pass and Chandra Levy's parents haven't heard anything from her. So of course, they're getting worried. They end up calling the police.

Yvette Gentile 10:46

That's right, Rasha. And of course, this is in the days before everyone necessarily had a cell phone. And I'm thinking of her traveling across the country, right, without the ability to get in touch with her parents, or, you know, anybody whenever she wanted. It just seems a bit strange, right? We used to do things like that. I mean, I take that back. We really didn't do things like that, because we always had a cell phone when the cell phones came out. But the thing is, did Chandra actually have a cell phone, Trevor? Do we know?

Trevor Young 11:22

Yeah, I mean, as you're alluding to, not everybody had cell phones back then. But Chandra did have one that we know of. And it is one of the items that police find when they search for D.C. apartment after she goes missing. So a couple other things they find, they find two partially packed bags, a couple clothes in the closet, they find her running shoes, her driver's license, a few other things like receipts and credit cards. However, most notably, her apartment keys are missing.

Yvette Gentile 11:50

Okay, so her keys were missing, but her driver's license, her credit cards, and her cell phone were still in the apartment. Right? It seems a bit off, right? It feels like if you're leaving the house, like you would definitely take your driver's license. 

Rasha Pecoraro 12:08

At the very least.

Yvette Gentile 12:10

It just makes you think, like, was she abducted from her apartment? 

Rasha Pecoraro 12:14

Yeah, possibly. I mean, or, you know, like, we've been saying this entire time, again, in 2001 not everyone, you know, had a cell phone. They wouldn't necessarily carry them everywhere that they went. Of course, you know, Yvette and I did. It's, but it's nothing like today, right? So we are always attached to our phones, there's location services on it, all the things, but she could have left her apartment without all of those things.

Trevor Young 12:40

Yeah, and I guess we'll never really know. And the sad truth there is the reason for that is that the police failed to obtain the surveillance camera footage from the apartment building, even though it was in fact readily available, at least for a short period. So there was a surveillance camera recording everyone who came and left the building. Had police actually secured that footage, then presumably, they could have seen Chandra when she left the apartment, and that would have told them if she was with anyone, what she was wearing, et cetera, et cetera. But they did not secure that footage. And it was recorded over after a few days. So if you remember back then, any sort of videotape recording, and this includes security footage, was all analog, it was on tapes. And so they couldn't just digitally save it to the cloud, you know, days and days worth of it, they would have to re-record over the tape, you know, every week or month or whatever it is to save on tape. So, because they didn't get it soon enough, they lost it. And therefore, we don't know what happened when she left the apartment.

Yvette Gentile 13:41

Gosh, that, I mean, that's just like, when you think about it, it's just, you know, failed police work 101, you know, to secure the footage. Like that would be the first thing you would want to see is, you know, what time did she leave the apartment and who possibly came into the apartment? Right?

Trevor Young 14:01

Yeah, I mean, I guess there's may be an excuse there that CCTV and things of that sort were much newer back in the 90s and early 2000s, right? I mean, investigators maybe didn't have any uniform way to check for that sort of thing at the time. But to me, it's just incompetence. Like if you know that exists, like do something about it. 

Yvette Gentile 14:20


Trevor Young 14:20

So I think it's just the first of many things we see in this case that is very disappointing, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 14:26

Yeah, very disappointing, for sure. Okay, so around this time, Chandra's mother calls Gary Condit herself, and asks him for help in finding Chandra and it's during this call that she also asks him if he was having an affair with her daughter. And he says, quote, unquote, no.

Yvette Gentile 14:48

He also donates $10,000 of his campaign money towards the reward to find Chandra and he releases a news statement calling her, and this is a quote from him, a great person and a good friend.

Rasha Pecoraro 15:05

Okay. So whether or not he actually had an affair with Chandra, I believe in my humble opinion that this is definitely CYOA, "Cover Your Own Ass" language, you know.

Yvette Gentile 15:21

 For sure. 

Rasha Pecoraro 15:21

Trying to save his marriage if there was a relationship going on more than just a friendship, and he's trying to save his political career because, you know, I mean, I'm sure he's, he saw what happened with Clinton and other people, but I don't know. It just feels, just feels fishy to me.

Yvette Gentile 15:41

I totally agree with you, Rasha, but there's more. The next month in June, a Washington Post story is published. And according to this story, law enforcement sources say that Chandra Levy spent the night at Condit's house. The report doesn't say which night. And, you know what, Condit's office also denied any romantic involvement qnd his lawyers demanded a retraction but the paper wouldn't retract it. 

Rasha Pecoraro 16:11

Yeah, I mean, I can see why the press is obsessed with this Gary Condit affair angle. It's fishy, again, fishy, fishy, fishy. I can see the obsession and why they were leaning this way. Like that does not look good for him.

Trevor Young 16:25

Yeah, I mean, going back again to the kind of obsession that the media has with political scandals. You know, anytime a young woman like this is killed, obviously, that's horrible, that's terrible. But when there's some sort of high profile person involved, you can almost guarantee that's gonna make like front page news for days, weeks, even months. So you know, Condit's in the spotlight here and he's kind of thinking, like, I have to, you know, play this right, or it's gonna ruin my career. And so during this time, Condit agrees to kind of play ball with the investigators. So he submits a DNA sample to police. And then he takes and passes a lie detector test.

Rasha Pecoraro 17:05

Well, that is very telling for sure. And meanwhile, the results from search data on Chandra's laptop from May 1 are finally revealed. They show that she used the internet until 1pm that day, and that she visited the sites for USA Today, the Drudge Report, and the Washington Post, all of which, you know, you would expect considering what she was interested in. But it also reveals a Mapquest search for a place called Klingle Mansion in Rock Creek Park. So Rock Creek Park is Washington D.C.'s big urban park and Klingle Mansion is apparently this historic house from the 1800s, which is located in a very secluded part of the park. And at that time in 2001, the trail to get to Klingle Mansion was actually closed. So you'd have to know your way around to know where it was and that it was even there or how to find it.

Yvette Gentile 18:04

So maybe that's where she went, right, without her cell phone, I mean, maybe she went on the run, right? It's a trail. It's like off beaten trail. So possibly she was just going for a run, didn't take her things. 

Rasha Pecoraro 18:18

Yeah, possibly, possibly. You know, police end up searching the park, but not until after nearly a full month after they saw this search data from her computer. So they searched the park on July 16. And these are United States Park Police on horseback. They're joined by police academy cadets. And throughout their search, they end up finding zilch, nothing. So months end up going by. July becomes August, August becomes September. And then I think a huge factor in the Chandra Levy case is September 11, 2001 happened to the United States. And I think that is exactly when, sadly, the public's obsession with Chandra Levy went away. The whole world was fixated on this horrible, tragic event. And Chandra got lost in the shuffle.

Trevor Young 19:20

Yeah, and not just the public, by the way, but you know, law enforcement were now on high alert and directing all of their attention to anything that might be considered, you know, a terrorist or international threat, right? 

Yvette Gentile 19:32


Trevor Young 19:33

And so it's really not until the following year that there's any movement on this case whatsoever. So on May 22 of 2002, a man is out walking his dog in Rock Creek Park when he noticed that his dog is very intensely sniffing this little spot on the side of a bluff. So he goes up to the spot where his dog is scratching and digging, and he starts rubbing the dirt away and that is when he discovers a human skull in the ground.

Rasha Pecoraro 20:05

Yeah, it's, I can't even imagine what he was thinking. He ended up calling the police and investigators quickly found other bones in the area. And they also found a jogging bra, panties, tennis shoes, sweatpants, and a Walkman, or a portable radio, for those of you who don't know what a Walkman is. And sadly, dental records end up confirming that it is indeed Chandra Levy's remains. So, Trevor, why did it take this long for them to find Chandra? 

Trevor Young 20:42

Yeah, I mean, that's the big question in this case, right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 20:45


Yvette Gentile 20:45


Trevor Young 20:45

Like, supposedly, they searched the park pretty well. But you know, at the end of the day, they found nothing. And it's just kind of a random stranger who happens to stumble upon this with his dog. You know, I wonder if they used any canine units in searching the park. I mean, clearly, a dog would have been able to smell even fresher remains a year earlier. 

Yvette Gentile 21:08


Trevor Young 21:09

But you know, who knows? So it sounds like they, they just didn't do a very good job of searching. 

Yvette Gentile 21:13


Trevor Young 21:14

Right? Like it was right there in the woods.

Yvette Gentile 21:17

It was right there. And I, you know, I just have to say, like, to me, it just seems like common sense, right? Because it seems like they're just searching the roads. But in fact, there are, you know, trails where people are running on these off trails, and why they didn't go a little further to these trails just baffles me, because it was right there.

Trevor Young 21:43

Yeah. I mean, they'll probably tell you as a resource thing, right? Like, they can only dispatch a certain number of men for a certain period of time before they had to call off their search and move on to something else, right? That's a very common answer you hear from law enforcement, and it's an unfortunate reality, and why a lot of cases don't get solved the way they should. So, you know, who knows, but the reality is, is that had they discovered her sooner, they would have gotten a lot more forensic evidence that they could have used when investigating her case. You know, they might have been able to determine if she had been raped, if there was any blood, semen, you know, anything under her fingernails that they could have used as DNA evidence. But you know, at the end of the day, all they really got was a few bones, some clothing, all of this has been weathered away by months and months and months of erosion and, you know, decay and all these things. So they don't really have a lot. I guess the only thing we really do get is that we now know that Chandra Levy is, in fact, dead. And that at least provides a little bit of closure for the family.

Yvette Gentile 22:45


Rasha Pecoraro 22:46

Yeah, I mean, you do have to feel thankful for that, at least for her, her mother and her father and her family, they can now finally, you know, bury their little girl. You know, but that's not the end of the story. This is where things get kind of weird for me. You know, I mean, it's just a few months later after they found Chandra's remains that a five-time felon and a former gang member ends up coming forward to tell authorities that he actually knows who Chandra's killer is.

Trevor Young 23:21

Yes, and we will learn about who that five-time felon is after we take a quick break.

Rasha Pecoraro 23:31

So just a few months after Chandra's remains were found in September of 2002, an incarcerated man named Armando Morales ended up coming forward. So Armando said that his cellmate, Ingmar Guandique, had confessed to him that he'd killed Chandra Levy.

Trevor Young 23:50

Yeah, so here's just a little poll from the Washington Post article that reported this; quote, Guandique had been walking in the Adams Morgan neighborhood when a car pulled to the curb. He claims Condit offered him money - $25,000 to kill a woman. So what Morales's testimony is suggesting here is that Gary Condit is involved and somehow responsible for the murder of Chandra Levy by having hired an assassin. So Morales said, quote, the congressman provided Guandique with Chandra Levy's picture and a location where he could find her.

Yvette Gentile 24:31

So he claims that Guandique was just out for a stroll one day when all of a sudden Gary Condit stops him just randomly, right? And offers him $25,000 to murder his intern. Is that what you're saying?

Trevor Young 24:50

Yeah, I mean, it leaves a lot up to chance, right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 24:54


Trevor Young 24:54

He just happened to stumble upon somebody who's willing to kill somebody for 25 grand, right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 24:59

Yeah. Did he look like a killer? Like what's like I don't even...

Yvette Gentile 25:03

That doesn't make any sense, I mean, he's just, you know, randomly driving through the streets of D.C. looking for someone who looks like, they look like a killer.

Rasha Pecoraro 25:10

And that they take money to kill her. 

Yvette Gentile 25:12

Yeah, that's super far-fetched, I just have to say

Rasha Pecoraro 25:16

I don't buy it.

Trevor Young 25:17

Yeah. And the more you read into it, the more weird it becomes. So I'll read the rest of the quote here. "The informants said Guandique told him he took drugs and drank alcohol to steel himself for the attack. He went to the location Condit gave him and saw Chandra running on a path. Guandique hid in the bushes, and when Chandra circled back, he jumped out and attacked her, stabbing her in the neck and the stomach. She fell to the ground and Guandique carried her body far into the woods. He dug a hole with his hands and covered Chandra with dirt, leaves, and sticks. He left the knife in her body, and later considered retrieving it, but never did. He sent the $25,000 to his family in El Salvador", end quote.

Rasha Pecoraro 26:00

So according to Morales's account, there should have been a knife found at the scene. And was a knife ever found, Trevor? 

Trevor Young 26:11

No, yeah, there was no knife. So I mean, this is making all of what Morales is saying here to be really fishy. So what happens then, is that Morales agreed to tell this story on the witness stand in return for better conditions in prison. And I think that's when the full picture of what's probably really going on here comes into view, right? 

Yvette Gentile 26:32

Yeah, totally. But do we know who Guandique is? Like, is this the guy that killed Chandra Levy? I mean, I don't think we're sold on that. Or are we?

Rasha Pecoraro 26:43

I'm not quite yet.

Trevor Young 26:45

Yeah, I mean, we know that he's an immigrant from El Salvador. We know he doesn't speak English. That summer, he had actually been arrested earlier for attacking two women in Rock Creek Park. So all of this is going on in 2002, the year after Chandra Levy was killed. And Guandique went on to be sentenced to 10 years for said crimes. But he did deny killing Chandra Levy. And there was still no physical evidence connecting him to the murder. So there was a bit of a pattern here that maybe connected him, but that's entirely circumstantial.

Rasha Pecoraro 27:16

In the same park, the year after she was killed.

Trevor Young 27:19

Sure. I mean, I see how you can maybe draw those conclusions or how that might set him up to look guilty. But, again, no physical evidence, that knife was never found, right.

Rasha Pecoraro 27:31


Yvette Gentile 27:32

Right. I got another question, though. What about, I wonder if they ever traced to see if there was ever any money exchanged? Like was the $25,000 ever sent to his family?

Trevor Young 27:44

Yeah, I mean, the other thing you can check is whether or not Gary Condit, you know, withdrew any large sums of money close to 25 grand on the days leading up to her murder, which would also, you know, back that account up. I don't think they looked into that. If they did, I don't know about it. Well, so then in 2009, a new D.C. police chief decided to reopen the case. And investigators in D.C. police announced that they are charging Guandique for the assault and murder of Chandra Levy. So his trial begins in October of 2009. The two women Guandique was convicted of attacking in the park both testify at this time, and they describe how he attacked them as they jogged alone in the park. So sounding a little familiar perhaps. 

Rasha Pecoraro 28:30

Same MO. 

Trevor Young 28:32

One woman says he dragged her down a ravine and attacked her with a knife. Chandra Levy's father also takes the stand and says he believes Gary Condit is still the most likely suspect. And he reveals that Chandra and Condit had concocted a, quote, five year plan prior to her death, in which he would divorce his current wife and marry Chandra. So it sounds like maybe they were planning on running away together and maybe something went wrong, at least according to the father, right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 28:59

Right, right. 

Yvette Gentile 29:00


Trevor Young 29:00

So then Condit himself takes the stand and testifies. And when asked whether he and Chandra had a sexual relationship, he refused to answer flat out. And he said he did this out of respect for Chandra. So an FBI biologist also revealed that semen found on a pair of Chandra's underwear matched that of Condit's, found in the, her apartment, that is.

Yvette Gentile 29:23

So fishy, and I just want to throw my two cents in here, like, he, in that, he says out of respect for Chandra. No, respect for Chandra would be telling the truth by saying, yes, we had a sexual relationship. That is respect. 

Trevor Young 29:40

Yeah, yeah. We know he's full of shit.

Rasha Pecoraro 29:42

Yeah. He'd been married since, I think, 1967. So he was trying to save everything from burning down, I think. 

Trevor Young 29:50

That's it. I mean, regardless of whether or not he was having an affair, which it sounds like he was... 

Rasha Pecoraro 29:54

Right, did he kill her?

Trevor Young 29:55

Doesn't necessarily mean he killed her. I mean, the fact that they find semen on the panties in her apartment suggests they were having a sexual relationship and, frankly, nothing more. Right. I mean, the fact that they were having an affair near the time that she was killed is certainly suspicious and fishy, but that's not physical evidence tying him to her murder. Right?

Rasha Pecoraro 30:15

Right. It is a potential motive, but it's not...yeah.

Trevor Young 30:19

Yeah, potentially. So anyways, the jury finds Guandique guilty of two counts of first degree murder. So a juror later claimed that their decision was mostly based on Morales's testimony that he gave, and Guandique was then sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Rasha Pecoraro 30:36

I watched a show about Chandra Levy this past week, I believe it was on Oxygen, and they interviewed Chandra's mom and dad, and when that verdict came down, you know, like, they had to have an interpreter for Guandique because, again, he didn't speak English. And they asked him if he killed, you know, Chandra Levy. And, you know, they were saying in this documentary that they didn't even need an interpreter because he was like, I am, he said it in Spanish, he goes like, I'm something along the lines of, I'm so sorry for your loss, but I did not kill Chandra Levy. And like, mom, dad, you know, like they had, they stated in this documentary that they had doubt. And it's just, I don't even know how they convicted him on his cellmate's testimony when there's no other evidence, but, you know, Guandique ends up writing a letter to a reporter at The Washington Post after that verdict and after he said all that in the courtroom. He says, of course, that everything was false, the evidence presented by the government and Morales's testimony was false, and, of course, his attorney files an appeal. And in May 2015, prosecutors agreed to hold a new trial, after the defense argued that informant Morales had perjured himself on the stand.

Yvette Gentile 31:58

Dang, and this is 2015. This is now a full 14 years after Chandra Levy was murdered.

Trevor Young 32:06

Yeah, I mean, wrongful conviction puts people in prison for decades and decades sometimes. You know, that said, he was convicted of, probably rightfully, attacking other women for which he should have been in prison. So you know, maybe he was going to be there anyways. But you know, at least in this case, it seems like, at least from my perspective, Guandique is correct in the fact that all of this was false, and that he was not actually guilty of murdering Chandra Levy. So there's a pretty good quote from the AP that sums this all up that I'll read very quickly. Quote, authorities acknowledged that they had no DNA evidence or witnesses linking Guandique to the crime, building their prosecution instead around a jailhouse informant who said Guandique had confessed behind bars that he was responsible for Levy's death. They also said the attack on Levy fit a pattern of assaults by Guandique on other female joggers in the same location where she went missing and during the same timeframe. So Guandique, who was already in prison for those attacks, when he was accused in Levy's death in 2009, professed innocence at his sentencing hearing. His lawyers said police and prosecutors made him a scapegoat for a botched investigation. And I do think that sums up what we know about this investigation so far.

Rasha Pecoraro 33:23


Yvette Gentile 33:24

What a freaking mess. 

Rasha Pecoraro 33:25

Hot Mess.

Trevor Young 33:26

Yeah. So what this appears to be then is that Morales, the person who gave this testimony, was looking for a lighter sentence, and saw an opportunity to rat out somebody else to get that. And then some things happen that back this up. So when prosecutors and the judge agree to hold a new trial, it comes to light that Armando Morales had actually testified in federal cases before, and that the prosecution knew this, but failed to disclose it. The defense argued that this misconduct warranted the charges against Guandique to be completely dropped. So this is something he had been doing frequently, along with investigators, to nail people who may not have been responsible so that they could close their cases and Morales could get shorter sentences.

Rasha Pecoraro 34:15

Phew. Yeah, well, it's... 

Yvette Gentile 34:17


Rasha Pecoraro 34:18

Totally horrible. And you know, meanwhile, and this is, this is a little crazy, but Armando Morales's neighbor ends up coming forward, and she's made a bunch of secret recordings of her conversations with Morales in which he talked about being the key witness in the Chandra Levy case and flat out says that he lied about Guandique's confession to improve his prison conditions, just like you said, Trevor. And so in light of, you know, this development, all charges against Guandique are indeed dropped. Again, no physical evidence against him and without the testimony of Morales they have nada. Nothing. 

Yvette Gentile 35:01

So basically they're back to square one. 

Rasha Pecoraro 35:03

Sadly, yeah.

Trevor Young 35:04

Yeah. And where the story essentially ends is that in May of 2017, Guandique was deported back to El Salvador. Gary Condit's career was essentially destroyed by this, as you would imagine. He was voted out of office in 2002, very likely from all the negative press he was receiving. He then moved to Phoenix where he and his wife attempted and failed at a couple of Baskin Robbins franchises that they briefly owned. And so...

Rasha Pecoraro 35:31


Trevor Young 35:32

Yeah, nobody walked away from this unscathed.

Rasha Pecoraro 35:36


Yvette Gentile 35:36

Yeah, and, you know, again, the sad thing about all this is, like, we still don't know who the real murderer is. Like, we still have no clue.

Trevor Young 35:46

Yeah, I mean, again, because police were so hyperfixated on Gary Condit's involvement and the testimony, the false testimony that they had from Morales, right, that they really failed to dedicate the time and resources to looking at a wide range of suspects and looking at all of the evidence in front of them. And so now, it's years, decades later, almost, and, you know, we have nothing really left to work with. There's essentially no way to solve this based on where we're at now, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 36:15

And that's what's, I think, so tragic, right? And, you know, when I was listening to Chandra's mom and dad speak in that Oxygen documentary, her mom said, she's like, you know, even if we find out who killed my daughter, it's not going to bring her back. And that was like, ugh, like, it just broke my heart even more, you know, and I will say one thing with, like, Gary Condit being, you know, such a big headline. And this is something her mom, you know, chimed in about as well, she doesn't think that she would have gotten as much media coverage if her daughter hadn't been involved with him. Because it was such a sensationalized media story that, you know, she was going her and her husband were going on different news programs to talk about their missing daughter, because she hadn't been found for that entire year. But, through all of that, and with 911 happening, you know, we, no one really got to see who Chandra Levy was as a human being. She was more of just a headline and, and that's what's so heartbreaking.

Yvette Gentile 37:21

Absolutely. I think what you said is absolutely true, you know, and what we have to remember is that, you know, she was more than a headline. She was a human being just at the start of her life.

Rasha Pecoraro 37:40

So that brings us to this week's Imua, our final message of hope and healing. Our Imua goes to Chandra Levy. If those in charge of finding justice for her murder had paid more attention to Chandra's actual actions in the final hours of her life, then maybe her family might have some measure of justice today. Instead, the police and the justice system focused on innuendo, scandal, headlines. And when all of that failed, they ended up finding a scapegoat on which to pin her death.

Yvette Gentile 38:16

And few bothered to know her in the weeks and months when doing so might have made a difference. And so we'll take a moment now to honor her life. Chandra Ann Levy was more than the worst thing that ever happened to her. She was a fun loving and playful sister. She was prone to being an occasional Big Sister bossy. She played Little League and she loved the San Francisco Giants and she was a bright, brilliant young woman, you know, doing her thing, working in D.C.

Rasha Pecoraro 38:56

Yes, and she was an individual who didn't like being told what to do. She was a very independent and vibrant young woman with a bright future that should have been hers to claim. Today and always we honor you, Chandra. Onward and upward. Imua.

Yvette Gentile 39:16

Imua. Well, that is our show for today. We'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion and if there is a case that you'd like us to cover. Please find us on social media or email us at facingevilpod@tenderfoot.tv.

Rasha Pecoraro 39:38

And one request, if you haven't already, please find us on iTunes and give us a good review and a good rating if you like what we do. Your support is always cherished.

Yvette Gentile 39:48

Until next time. Aloha.

Trevor Young 40:05

Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The show is hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk. Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot. TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Claudia Dafrico. Original Music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on social media, or email us at facingevilpod@tenderfoot.tv. For more podcasts from iHeart Radio or Tenderfoot TV, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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