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Secret hearings held in killing of Washington intern Chandra Levy

Family photo via AP

Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old grad student from the University of Southern California, went missing in 2001 after completing a federal internship.

The 2001 slaying of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy is back in court, but behind closed doors: Records show a judge has been holding secret hearings in the case of the man convicted of killing her, according to The Associated Press.

Hearings have been held for the past several weeks, with neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers revealing their purpose, according to court records obtained by AP. The next hearing will be on Feb. 7 in D.C. Superior Court; The AP and several other media organizations are petitioning to open the proceedings.

Ingmar Guandique was convicted of first-degree murder in November 2010, nine years after Levy's disappearance and death, despite no DNA evidence linking him to the crime, and a lack of witnesses.

Levy's father, Robert Levy, told KGO-TV in San Francisco that he has not been told what's been happening in the secret court hearings. He said Guandique was a "convicted rapist and an illegal alien." 

But, he added, "if he's innocent of murder, he shouldn't be in jail for it." 

Jacquelyn Martin / AP file

Ingmar Guandique, seen in 2009.

Police had initially questioned then-California Rep. Gary Condit -- who Levy was romantically tied to -- in their search for suspects, before determining he wasn’t involved. The following year, when Levy's remains were found in a Washington national park, authorities charged Guandique, who was already in prison for attacking female joggers in the same park, reported The AP.

Levy's case stole the attention of the national media. Condit was never charged, but his political aspirations were ruined nonetheless.

Prosecutors had requested a life prison sentence for Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Savador. Instead, he was given a 60-year sentence, which he is currently serving.

After he was sentenced, Levy's mom, Susan, asked him if he was the one who killed her daughter, and he shook his head.

"Mr. Guandique, you are lower than a cockroach," she told him at the time, according to The AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.