Jury selection continues in Chandra Levy murder trial

10/19/2010 7:47 AM

11/18/2010 12:49 AM

WASHINGTON -- Prosecutors, defense attorneys and the man accused of killing former Modesto resident Chandra Levy will be mostly out of the public eye on Tuesday, as jury selection continues.

With the possible exception of a brief get-together in the courtroom, attorneys are supposed to be going over the main 11-page, 55-question questionnaire presented potential jurors on Monday. These questions will become the basis for in-person voir dire that starts Wednesday. All told, 81 potential jurors have passed the first threshold.

Some of the questions are standard background info: age, employment, education. Others are specific to the crime.

Potential jurors are asked, for instance, whether they are familiar with Rock Creek Park and the Western Ridge Trail, where Levy's skeletal remains were found in 2002. Six separate questions are asked concerning MS-13, the feared Salvadoran gang accused killer Ingmar Guandique reportedly belonged to.

The questions give a hint of the witnesses to come; one, for instance, asks whether "the fact that a witness was a member, former member or affiliated" with MS-13 would cause prejudice against the testimony.

Potential jurors are also asked whether they hold "any negative feelings or opinions towards people who illegally immigrated to the United States." This covers the fact that Guandique is an illegal immigrant; who, in fact, is slated for deportation if he wins acquittal.

The potential jurors are advised that Levy is from Modesto, but no questions are asked specifically about either the town or the former congressman Gary Condit.

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