WASHINGTON – Salvadoran national Ingmar Guandique was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison by the D.C. Superior Court for the 2001 murder of congressional intern Chandra Levy.
Last November a jury convicted Guandique, a 29-year-old illegal immigrant, of first degree murder. Prosecutors had pleaded for life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
The defense had maintained his innocence, alleging that there were neither witnesses nor DNA evidence linking him to the case, and the defendant never confessed the crime to the police.
Chandra Levy disappeared May 1, 2001, when she went jogging in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. Her half-buried body was found a year later in the same park.
The case turned into a national scandal when the investigation discovered that the 24-year-old intern had been having an affair with U.S. Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.) 53, the married father of two children.
The mystery of Levy’s death remained an enigma for years, until March 2009 when prosecutors formally accused Guandique, who at that time was serving a 10-year sentence in California for attacking two other women in the same park.
The accused entered the U.S. illegally in 2000 when he was 19, and authorities have indicated that he was a member of Mara Salvatrucha, a street gang of Salvadoran origin.