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March 4, 2009


Someone who isn't Gary Condit arrested for killing Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

DC police are about to arrest a man for killing Chandra Levy back in 2001. The guy in question, Ingmar Guandique, is already in prison, after making a habit of assaulting women in Rock Creek Park. He apparently talked to some other guys in prison and wrote letters and made phone calls that included gruesome details about the attack, and the case was built on their testimony.

Gary Condit might have been telling the truth all this time! The beleaguered former Congressman may be a cheating slimeball, and really unlucky in his selection of interns to have an affair with, but maybe he didn't have her killed.

After the murder, Condit looked like the prime suspect. Women's killers are almost always their male partners, and a successful, powerful, married politician looked like just the kind of guy who would have his young secret girlfriend killed. There are still a lot of arguments floating around out there about Condit's probable guilt, detailing his suspicious absences on the day Chandra Levy disappeared. He also tried to paint Levy as a slut, which made him look desperate and guilty, and also like a huge jerk.

Mostly famously, my own favorite celebrity, crime, and celebrity crime reporter Dominick Dunne's theories and gossip about the case in his Vanity Fair column added to the speculation that Condit did it. The weirdest stuff Dunne talked about was a rumor he had heard that Condit was hanging out with the leaders of a prostitution ring at Middle Eastern embassies in DC and told some guys that he had a girlfriend he needed to get rid of. A Times article from 2003 describes it better, but it's basically hearsay based on a rumor based on the report of an unnamed, unreliable horse whisperer.

Anyway, Condit sued Dominick Dunne for defamation and they settled, then sued him again and lost. Remember, Dunne's own daughter was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, who got off with a light sentence, so his own emotions probably played a role in his assumption that Gary Condit was a murderer.

Gary Condit was ruled out as a suspect in the police investigation, but it seems like the public still thinks he's guilty. Reader comments to a CBS story about the case from last week include a lot of things like "CONDIT=MURDERER=GUILTY". And an episode of "South Park" refers to Condit as a killer that got away with it, OJ-style (the one where Butters' parents try to kill him after he follows his dad into a gay bath house.)

Even with new evidence that Condit had nothing to do with the murder, his political career is long dead, and his post-Congress career hasn't gone so great. He was sued by Baskin-Robbins in 2007 for not paying franchise fees for his two Arizona ice cream stores.

The Washington Post has an exhaustive series on the Chandra Levy case from last year with details about Ingmar Guandique, who was a suspect back in the fall of 2001, but the investigation was sloppy and he was eliminated as a suspect. One of the guys who Guandique told about the killing says that Guandique originally claimed Gary Condit had paid him to kill Chandra Levy, so it might not be over yet.

categories: Celebrities, Crime, Politics
posted by amy at 10:05 AM | #

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Should this article lead us to believe that Gary Condit is so inept he couldn't make money selling ice cream in Arizona? Hard to believe he'd be clever enough to hire a killer like Guandique in that case.

Posted by: T-Rock at March 4, 2009 5:23 PM

I always thought Condit was sort of an unlikely suspect, actually---politicans may occasionally hire burglars, but they don't hire hitmen. The risk-benefit calculation is just all out of whack. If anything, I felt sorry for Condit, who seemed like an archetypal noir character---the guy getting framed for the one crime he didn't commit. That his political career is over is just sad---lots of politicians cheat and do just fine. If anything, I think a whole lot of people owe him the same apology that Richard Jewel, or the "satanic day-care" people deserve.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastard at March 10, 2009 11:12 AM

I agree that Condit has been mistreated by the press and pretty much everybody, but I don't think he's in the same boat as Richard Jewell. Condit really was a cheating bastard, and even if he had nothing to do with Chandra Levy's disappearance and death, he conducted himself horribly during the investigation.

When your young secret girlfriend goes missing, and loads of people know about your involvement with her, you CANNOT lie about it. Doesn't this guy watch Law & Order? The public will find out, and then everything else you say from then on will be suspect.

I think he just panicked and didn't think about how he should best respond to the investigation, so he insisted on denying everything. Then when their affair inevitably came to light, tried to make Chandra look like the sleazy one. Bad, bad move.

I think he's more unlucky and, to use T-Rock's word, inept, than anything else, but he's no misunderstood hero.

Posted by: Amy at March 10, 2009 12:59 PM

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