Robert Chambers: Who Was the Preppy Killer and What Was He Convicted Of?

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Written By Sedoso Feb
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Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of assault and murder. Reader discretion is advised.

Robert Chambers, aka the Preppy Killer, was a 19-year-old graduate from an East Side preparatory school when authorities charged him with the murder of Jennifer Dawn Levin. The 18-year-old victim died of asphyxiation in the early morning of August 26, 1986, at Central Park. A bicyclist found her body behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Times reported.

Doctors found that there was severe compression of Levin’s neck, which concluded that she died by strangulation. The autopsy also revealed pinpoint hemorrhages that may have been caused by the restriction of blood flow to the neck. Robert Chambers and Jennifer Levin were reportedly dating for a couple of weeks before her death.

In 1988, on the ninth day of deliberations, Robert Chambers pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison as part of the plea deal. He served a complete 15-year term in prison. Chambers was initially incarcerated at the Auburn State Prison before he was moved to the Clinton Correctional Facility. Drug possession and assaulting a guard were among the crimes that he committed while behind bars. According to Oxygen, these reasons led to his transfer.

After he was released in 2003, Robert Chambers was arrested again in 2007 for selling drugs out of his apartment, CBS News reported. Although he was sentenced to 19 years in prison after that, he was released in 2023, four years before his sentence was completed. He was released from the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in New York. He is to remain under supervision for five years following his release.

How was Robert Chambers caught?

As per The New York Times, Robert Chambers was arrested on August 27, 1986, after the first witness in the case, the bicyclist who found Levin’s body, claimed that he found Jennifer Levin almost nude with her arms and legs sprawled in Central Park. The witness also said that she saw a tall man in khaki pants lurking. Levin was reportedly seen leaving a bar with Chambers earlier that morning. At the time, Chambers was arrested on second-degree murder charges.

After his arrest, Robert Chambers confessed in a video statement that he killed Jennifer Levin “accidentally” after she hurt him during a sexual act. He also admitted to sitting on a wall near the museum until the police arrived and took her body. The outlet reported that the woman who contacted the police also claimed to have seen a man sitting there casually. She said it was an unlikely sight on a morning like that. Although she was unsure about his appearance, authorities claimed it was Chambers.

Moreover, according to Chambers’ statement, Levin had tied his hands up with her panties right before the murder. A pair of her panties were found nearly 50 feet away from the body. However, the defense still argued that Robert Chambers may not have been in the right state of mind, and his presence at the crime scene should not be assumed as an admission of guilt, per The New York Times.

His guilty plea in court came after a plea deal that promised a reduced sentence in exchange for an admission of guilt. After he was sentenced to prison, he reportedly expressed his apology to Jennifer Levin’s family and served 15 years in prison for the crime.

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