Federal prosecutors working with D.C. Police have issued an arrest warrant charging Ingmar Guandique with murdering Chandra Levy 7 years ago. Chandra Levy was having an affair with Rep. Gary Condit at the time of her murder, and initial suspicions focused on him after the affair between Condit and Levy became public. Suspicions that Condit was involved in Levy’s disappearance and death eventually proved unfounded, but not before derailing Condit’s political career.
Once the Condit connection proved insubstantial, police turned their attention to Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who is presently jailed after being convicted of attacking 2 other women joggers in the same park where Levy was murdered while jogging. Guandique had been arrested on a burglary charge and released shortly before Levy’s murder.
The imminent issuance of an arrest warrant in the Chandra Levy case and the identification of Guandique as the killer was reported widely in the press last week and attributed to unidentified sources.
Metro Washington, DC has a sizeable Salvadorean community, including both legal and illegal residents. Like Chandra Levy’s killer, other Salvadoran illegal immigrants have been charged with having committed high profile crimes in the DC region after having been released from police custody despite their illegal status
Perhaps the case with the highest profile is the murder of Tai Lam. In November, illegal immigrants Hector Maurico Hernandez and Gilmar Romero, both members of the Salvadoran gang MS-13, were charged with first degree murder in a random shooting of 3 high school students on a ride-on bus in Silver Spring, Maryland. Hernandez., Romero, and other gang members boarded the bus and spoke to the teens, then upon leaving the bus turned and fired on them, killing 14 year old Blair High School honor student Tai Lam and wounding 2 of his friends. The surviving teenagers told local media that the group of teens riding the bus did not know Hernandez, Romero or the other MS-13 gang members.
Tai Lam’s death has prompted the Washington region to take a closer look at the handling of cases involving illegal immigrants. Both Hernandez and Romero, as well as Guandique, the man who allegedly slayed Chandra Levy, had been arrested and released from custody prior to their alleged capital crimes, despite their illegal status. But any consideration of stricter handling of cases involving illegal immigrants tends to bring out fears of racial profiling and prejudice. The citizens of Montgomery County, where Lam was murdered, have historically exhibited a particularly tolerant approach to illegal immigration.
Sources: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2009/03/chandra_levy_case_arrest_annou.html; http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-02-21-chandra-levy_N.htm; http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8671; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/14/AR2008111403393.html; http://www.gazette.net/stories/12032008/gaitnew205448_32490.shtml.