Looking Back At Preppy Murder Case 30th Anniversary And Killer Robert Chambers

With all of the talk lately about murders in the park, it’s hard not to think about a famous murder in Central Park which has its 30th anniversary coming up. The murder victim’s, Jennifer Levin’s, case was called the Preppy Murder, as she was strangled and killed during what the murderer, Robert Chambers, called “consensual rough sex.” The case was dubbed the Preppy Murder, and Robert Chambers the Preppy Murderer because Chambers was ultra clean cut with a prep school background. He looked more like a member of the lacrosse team than a guy that would be in a criminal line-up, yet all evidence in the Levin murder pointed squarely at Chambers. Now, for those who were around 18 or older thirty years ago, the Chambers case was an awakening to the idea that all killers do not appear deranged and scary on the outside and that sociopaths are all around us.

As cameras are being installed in the Queens park where blogger and speech therapist Karina Vetrano was raped and killed, many New Yorkers are reminded of the Jennifer Levin murder thirty years ago, according to the Inquisitr. Jennifer Levin’s body was found in Central Park in the early morning hours by police, while Vetrano’s body was found in the daytime in the park in Howard Beach on the borders of Brooklyn and Queens. Vetrano’s murderer is still unknown, while Jennifer Levin’s murderer turned out to be someone she knew, and went with to the park voluntarily, yet it is difficult not to think of Jennifer Levin and the preppy murder when a pretty young woman is found assaulted in a New York park.

Town & Country says that August 26th is the 30th anniversary of Jennifer Levin’s strangling death at the hands of Robert Chambers in Central Park. Jennifer Levin’s body was found at dawn in the park, clothes torn, and her body marked by violence. Robert Chambers was taken into custody within hours, as several people had seen Chambers leave a bar with Levin before the assault. Chambers told police in a report that it was an accident.


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“They had engaged in consensual rough sex, and as Chambers told it, Levin had started to hurt him and he’d pushed her off him, killing her in the process.”

But the police questioned why Chambers would then leave the body in Central Park and go home to his parents’ apartment.

Robert Chambers was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter in the killing of Jennifer Levin, and was sentenced to 5 to 15 years behind bars according to the Huffington Post, despite the fact that a video surfaced with Chambers laughing while demonstrating a strangulation on a doll. Chambers served his sentence, but now is facing life in prison after selling cocaine to an undercover police officer.

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It seems odd that Chambers is now facing far more time for selling drugs than he faced for taking the life of an 18-year-old girl. Chambers has a long history of drug addiction and reportedly had his sentence for Levin’s death extended when he got caught smuggling and selling drugs in prison. This is not Chambers’ first arrest since his release from prison in the Levin case. A year after his release, Chambers was arrested for driving with a suspended license, and having drug residue in his car.

In recalling the murder thirty years ago, the New York Daily News says that after his arrest, Robert Chambers initially lied and said he had been scratched by a cat to explain his injuries. The anniversary of the murder of Jennifer Levin was featured this week on the CBS show 48 Hours, telling the story of how “blaming the victim” had spared Chambers being sent away for an actual murder charge.

Do you remember the Jennifer Levin murder? Do you think Robert Chambers did enough time?

[Photo by Mario Suriani/AP Images]