In Intern Case, Police Consider Assault Convict
by Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times
WASHINGTON - In their search for clues in the death of Chandra Ann Levy, the police turned their attention today to a man convicted of assaulting two other female joggers in Rock Creek Park. The judge who locked him up called the man "predatory," and prosecutors said he had used the park as a "hunting ground."
The remains of Ms. Levy, the 24-year-old intern who disappeared a year ago, were found along with her jogging clothes and her Sony Walkman in the park here on Wednesday. She had been linked romantically to Representative Gary A. Condit, a seven-term California Democrat whose constituents rejected him for re-election in a primary in March.
The police interviewed Mr. Condit at least four times in the last year and said today that they might do so again.
But the police have still not labeled the death a homicide and released no new details today about their examination of the evidence found Wednesday. They continued to comb the park, while investigators focused their attention on a 20-year-old man from Washington, Ingmar Guandique, who is serving time for two assaults last year against two women in the same area of the park where Ms. Levy jogged and where her remains were found. Those assaults took place shortly after Ms. Levy disappeared on May 1, 2001.
Officials said today that the police had interviewed Mr. Guandique since Ms. Levy vanished but had not done so since her remains were found on Wednesday. They said the police were trying to interview him again.
Mr. Condit and his supporters have suggested all along that a serial killer may have been responsible for Ms. Levy's disappearance.
In September, however, the Washington police said their research had led them to conclude that Ms. Levy was not the victim of a serial killer unless she was the first in the series.
They also said they never considered Mr. Condit a suspect. He was subpoened to testify before a grand jury here last month investigating the disappearance.
Mr. Condit's lawyer said today that Mr. Guandique, whose case was first reported today on the Web site of a Capitol Hill newspaper, rollcalldaily.com, appeared to be a credible suspect.
"This is just a blockbuster, in terms of its investigative efficacy," the lawyer, Mark Geragos, said.
Charles H. Ramsey, chief of the Washington police department, said that Mr. Guandique was not the only suspect and that there was nothing to link him to Ms. Levy.
"We can't make the leap from that, to anything to do with Chandra Levy," the chief told CNN. "First, we have to determine if in fact she was murdered. We have been looking at all kinds of cases that could possibly be connected, but at the moment we don't have anything that ties anyone into the disappearance of Chandra Levy."
The first case involving Mr. Guandique occurred on May 14, 2001. According to reports by the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Mr. Guandique followed a jogger in the park at about 6:30 p.m., then grabbed her and tried to steal her Sony Walkman.
The victim said Mr. Guandique brandished a knife, grabbed her around the neck and pulled her to the ground, where her Walkman fell off. He ran away and left the Walkman behind.
The second case occurred July 1, 2001, at 7:30 p.m. As in the first instance, he started running behind a jogger and grabbed her from behind. The victim said that he pulled her off the trail and that the two rolled into a ravine. He then held a knife to her throat, covered her mouth and told her to stop screaming, she said.
She broke away and immediately reported the incident to the Park Police, who arrested him a short time later.
Mr. Guandique pleaded guilty in September to two counts of assault with intent to commit robbery and was sent to the Rivers Correctional Institution in Winton, N.C., a low-security facility, on March 13.
The judge in the case, Noel A. Kramer of the District of Columbia Superior Court, said at the time that the crimes did not seem like ordinary robberies. Judge Kramer said he seemed "extremely dangerous" because he sought out physical confrontations with his victims, spent a lot of time following them and then never stole any property. The judge called him "predatory."
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