This week, I appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to discuss the latest news in the Chandra Levy murder trial. Levy was found dead in Rock Creek Park in 2001 and her case remained unsolved for several years. The first person of interest was Gary Condit, a then California congressman who carried on an affair with Levy shortly before her death. He was later ruled out as a suspect and the case stalled until 2006 when a jailhouse informant came forward claiming his cellmate confessed to the murder.
The new suspect, Ingmar Guandique, had been convicted of attacking two women in the same park around the same time as Levy's death. Although there was no physical evidence linking him to Levy's murder, and there were no eyewitnesses to her death, Guandique was tried for, and convicted of Levy's murder in 2010. The prosecution's star witness was a jailhouse informant, Armando Morales, who took the stand and told the jury about Guandique's alleged confession. As a result, Guandique was found guilty, and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Yet, after the trial, prosecutors learned that Morales had lied on the stand when asked whether he served as an informant before and testified he had not. That lie was used as the basis for a motion for a new trial.
While prosecutors were gearing up to re-try Guandique, another new bombshell was revealed. A woman, Babs Proller, had secretly recorded Morales and caught him on tape admitted he made the whole thing up, and lied about Guandique's confession, in an effort to improve his own prison conditions. After learning about the recording, prosecutors decided not to re-try Guandique and to drop the murder charges against him. Prosecutors faced a difficult choice of going forward with the trial and putting Morales on the stand, even though his lies would come out on cross examination, or going forward with the trial without Morales, their star witness. In the end, without physical evidence or eyewitnesses linking Guandique to the crime, prosecutors chose not to try the case, leaving open the question, who killed Chandra Levy? Fifteen years later, the case remains unsolved.