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Chandra Levy Murder Trial Starts – Nine Years Later

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It was a tragedy that ended the life of a young woman and swept up a congressman in a wave of scandal that destroyed his political career.

Nine years later, the trial of Chandra Levy’s alleged murderer has begun – and former Democratic Rep. Gary Condit, never named as a police suspect but the center of international attention because of his alleged romantic involvement with Levy, may be called as a witness.

Jury selection started Monday in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, 29, who is charged with murder, kidnapping, attempted sexual assault along with other counts.

Guandique is accused of attacking Levy while she was jogging alone in Rock Creek Park in May 2001; her body was discovered a year later.

Though authorities questioned and cleared Condit after Levy s disappearance, the congressman s reported relationship with the 24-year-old Washington intern caused a firestorm of sensational headlines around the globe. A spokesman for Condit says he expects to be called as a witness, according to the Associated Press.

For Levy’s parents, convicting Guandique will not be closure or answer their many questions.

“Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or it could have been because of who she knew? I don’t know,” her mother Susan Levy, 63, tells The Washington Post. Her father, Robert Levy, has stronger words for his daughter’s alleged killer.

Saying he’s “pretty sure” police nabbed the right guy, Robert Levy would rather Guandique face another brand of punishment. “I would prefer someone take care of him in prison,” Levy said. “He shouldn’t die right away. That would be too easy.”

An illegal immigrant from El Salvador, Guandique was charged last year with killing Levy and at the time was serving a 10-year sentence for other assaults in Rock Creek Park. Jury selection is expected to go until the end of the week, with opening arguments slated to begin after that.