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“You’re dealing with somebody’s life, two people’s lives, and I don’t take that lightly. I take that very, very seriously,” she said. “I’m confident with the decision that we made, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish we didn’t have to be here today.”

When a reporter asked how she felt about the police wrongly pursuing Mr. Condit, Ms. Grimstead chided the media.

“I don’t really want to answer that question,” she said, “but it wasn’t just the police that were on the wrong track.”

Ms. Grimstead said the lesson for the media is “don’t make assumptions, it’s a lesson for everybody.”

Bad assumptions rested at the heart of Guandique’s defense. His attorneys, public defenders Santha Sonenberg and Maria Hawilo, said investigators hopelessly botched the case and Guandique was an easy scapegoat.

“They can’t fix failures,” Ms. Hawilo said during opening arguments. “They can’t undo their mistakes.”

Ms. Sonenberg and Ms. Hawilo declined to comment after the verdict.

During the trial, the defense was critical of the testimony of Armando Morales, a cellmate of Guandique’s who said the defendant confessed to killing Levy. The defense argued that Morales learned about Guandique’s connection to the case only after seeing a report about it on CNN.

The defense also argued that DNA from an unknown source found on Levy’s running tights could have exonerated their client. Prosecutors countered that the evidence was never tested because the DNA likely came from someone who handled the tights as evidence.

Prosecutors also said Morales’ testimony displayed knowledge of the case that could not have come from the CNN report. Specifically, they referred to the portion of Morales’ testimony in which he said Guandique told him he attacked Levy from behind, which is the same way he attacked the other women in Rock Creek Park.

Prosecutors relied heavily on the chilling testimony of the two women Guandique attacked to build their case. One of the women, Halle Shilling, who was targeted mere weeks after Levy went missing, said the attack left her feeling “as afraid and alone as I have felt in my entire life.”

She said Guandique “tracked” her as she ran by him in Rock Creek Park. He later attacked her on an isolated trail.

“At that point, I realized I was in a very remote part of the park,” she said. “I knew no one could hear me, no one could hear me.”

Guandique had a knife, but Ms. Shilling, similar to the other victim, ultimately was able to fight him off until he ran away. Prosecutors noted that both women who survived were larger than Levy and the attacks fit a pattern.

The only difference, they said, was that Levy didn’t survive.