Jennifer Levin was just 18 when she was killed. She'd left Dorrian's Red Hand at 4:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in August 1986 with a young man by the name of Robert Chambers, whom she'd dated on and off. They were heading for a walk in Central Park. Less than two hours later, she was found dead, strangled by her own bra.
Chambers was arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder. His Upper East Side breeding and good looks earned him the name "The Preppy Killer." His trial was filled with victim-shaming that led to Levin being portrayed as a sexually deviant abuser. And although Chambers did take a plea deal, in 2003, he walked free. So where is Robert Chambers today?
Is Robert Chambers still in jail?
Levin's story is a terrifying tale that sounds like it was made up for TV. It wasn't made up but it will be the subject of a limited series on AMC called The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park. Shedding new light on a case that was closed in 1988, the docuseries will introduce evidence that was inadmissible during the trial and shine a spotlight on the sexism that led to Chambers being billed the victim in Levin's death.
But while the series will dive into the trial, an important question arises about the outcome. Did Robert Chambers go to jail for the strangulation of Jennifer Levin?
The then-19-year-old insisted throughout the trial that Levin's death was accidental as he was defending himself while she tried to hurt him during sex. Despite that claim, he eventually pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter. The deal resulted in him agreeing to 5 to 15 years in jail. He was also sued by Levin's parents for $25 million in punitive damages, which he did not contest.
Chambers did go to jail for 15 years, mainly because he had a number of behavioral issues, like assaulting a guard, so he was forced to finish the full sentence. He spent nearly a third of his time in solitary confinement and was rejected for parole five times. "The Preppy Killer" completed his sentence on Valentine's Day in 2003 at the age of 36. But it wouldn't be the last time that Chambers was put behind bars.
Where is Robert Chambers today? Serving time for drug charges.
Following his release from prison, Chambers would be arrested again in 2004 for drug possession and driving with a suspended license. He was arrested again in 2007 with his girlfriend, Shawn Lovell, and this time he was arrested for more than possession. He was charged with selling cocaine. Chambers resisted arrest, adding to his list of crimes and tacking more time on to his potential sentence.
While his girlfriend pled guilty and was sent to an 18-month drug rehabilitation program, "The Preppy Killer" was sentenced to 19 years in prison, where he remains today. At the earliest, he could walk free in January 2024.
To see Chambers's full story, including the trial that made waves for its victim-blaming, catch The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park on AMC on Nov. 13 at 9/8c.