BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A chance encounter for a Maryland actress helped secure a conviction in the murder of Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy, who was involved in an affair with a sitting congressman.
Now, more than 15 years after Levy’s grisly murder, recordings made by the same actress that discredited the prosecution’s key witness led prosecutors to drop all charges against the man accused for years of killing Levy.
Babs Proller is no stranger to drama. In fact, she has had several roles, including an appearance on the Netflix hit “House of Cards,” alongside star Kevin Spacey.
But in the years following the May 2001 disappearance of Levy, Proller found herself in the thick of a real life murder mystery. “(While Proller) was staying in a Maryland hotel room, a man approached her as she was having trouble carrying her dog to the hotel, and her offered to carry (the dog),” Washington Post reporter Lynh Bui said.
That man, Proller later found out, was Armando Morales. He testified that Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant who had already been sentenced to 10 years in prison for assaults on joggers in Rock Creek Park, had admitted to Levy’s murder. In 2009, Guandique was charged in the case and, a year later, was found guilty and sentenced to 60 years for her killing.
Guandique always maintained his innocence. Last year, his defense attorneys were able to get their client a new trial after appealing the conviction. Once again, it appeared Morales would be the key witness.
What prosecutors did not know, though, was that following their chance meeting, Proller became suspicious of Morales and started secretly recording their conversations. In one of those recordings, she claimed, he acknowledged lying about Guandique’s confession.
Proller brought those recordings to the attention of Levy’s mother, Susan, who Bui said then reached out to prosecutors.
“I want the true person who did this to be found,” Proller told the Post. “The system failed and took attention away from somebody who really did it. It’s a never-ending nightmare for this poor family, and they need closure.”
On Thursday, prosecutors made a major move, dropping all charges against Guandique. At last check, it was not clear whether they were pursuing any other suspects in connection to the murder.
Investigators previously ruled out former California Democrat Gary Condit, with whom the victim had an affair and who for some time police considered a suspect.
In a statement obtained by the Post, Condit’s attorney said his client was disappointed with authorities’ inability to provide the victim’s family with closure.
“The failure of authorities to bring formal closure to this tragedy after 15 years is very disappointing but in no way alters the fact that Mr. Condit was long ago completely exonerated by authorities in connection with Ms. Levy’s death.”