Share This Page

D.C. intern Chandra Levy's killer back in court in secret case

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 8:50 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The man convicted of killing former intern Chandra Levy returned to court on Thursday for the first time in two years, and questions concerning the credibility of a prosecution witness will remain secret for now.

Over the objections of defense attorneys and attorneys for several news organizations, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher ruled that the next court proceedings will be sealed again.

“Ultimately, what can be disclosed will be disclosed,” Fisher said.

That left Ingmar Guandique, the 31-year-old Salvadoran immigrant who is serving a 60-year sentence for felony murder in Levy's death, to sit and listen impassively through a translating headset as attorneys skated over some secret new twists in his case.

His head shaven and his hands manacled, Guandique was garbed in an orange jumpsuit instead of the jacket and sweater adopted during his November 2010 trial.

Fisher has sided with prosecutors in determining that safety considerations required closing the latest proceedings involving questions about a prosecution witness. The judge's hand in controlling information was strengthened considerably on Thursday when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defense plea to reverse Fisher's earlier secrecy decisions.

Patrick Carome, an attorney for several news companies that have objected to the closed-door hearings, said he was very disappointed in the two courts' rulings to impose what he called blanket secrecy.

On Wednesday, before Guandique arrived in Washington, Fisher rejected requests to make public the transcripts from hearings on Dec. 18 and Jan. 4. Following up Thursday, Fisher revealed that he's given prosecutors until early April to spell out steps that might be taken to provide the public with some redacted details.

Guandique was summoned from prison for the hearing.

A jury concluded in 2010 that he had killed the 24-year-old Levy in Washington's Rock Creek Park on May 1, 2001, shortly before she was to return to her family's home in Modesto, Calif.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.