McLEAN, Va. – Armando Morales was a gang leader and a jailhouse snitch, but he was also a dynamic presence on the witness stand when he told jurors that his cellmate, Ingmar Guandique (gwahn-DEE’-kay), confessed to the murder of Washington intern Chandra Levy.
Jurors believed Morales, and prosecutors obtained a conviction against Guandique at his 2010 trial despite lacking a confession, witnesses or DNA evidence.
But for the past five years, defense lawyers accumulated new information that cast doubt on Morales’ truthfulness. They learned that he asked to be put into the witness protection program in exchange for his testimony, even though he testified he hadn’t sought any benefit for testifying.
On Thursday, prosecutors dropped all charges against Guandique, saying they had received evidence recently that would make it impossible for them to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.