‘Preppy Killer’ Robert Chambers Released From New York Prison on Drug and Assault Charges

A former prep student who was nicknamed the “Preppy Killer” after he was convicted for murdering a teenage girl in Central Park in 1986, has been released from prison after serving more than a decade on separate drug-related charges.

Robert Chambers, 56, was released from New York’s Shawangunk Correctional Facility on Tuesday, according to the New York Department of Correction website

He had served 15 years of a 19 year sentence on charges for the criminal sale of controlled substances and second degree assault, according to records. Despite his release, he will continue to serve parole until 2028.

These charges were related to his 2008 arrest for dealing drugs including cocaine and heroin, from his Manhattan apartment, per the New York Post.

“Preppie Killer” Robert Chambers photographed leaving Auburn Correctional Facility in Auburn, N.Y.

David Duprey/AP Photo

A lawyer was not listed for Chambers for contact.

He was more well known for his prior conviction in the murder of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin, which occurred when he was a 20-year-old prep student.

A cyclist discovered Levin‘s strangled, half-naked body on Aug. 26, 1986, while riding through an area of Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Chambers was arrested in connection to her death, and had claimed to police that Levin died following a round of consensual, “rough sex” in the park.

Robert Chambers arrives for pre-trial hearing at Manhattan Criminal Court, June 18, 1987.

Richard Drew/AP Photo

However, prosecutors argued at his trial that Levin was raped and killed. Jurors failed to reach a verdict after nine days of deliberation, prompting prosecutors to strike a deal that saw Chambers plead guilty to the lesser crime of first-degree manslaughter, serving 15 years behind bars before being released in 2003.

The infamous crime resonated in pop culture, inspiring several TV series and songs. 

The case was the basis of a 1989 made-for-TV movie starring Billy Baldwin as Chambers and Lara Flynn Boyle portraying Levin. The producers of Law & Order based a 1990 episode on the crime. The crime was also re-examined in the AMC five-episode docuseries The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park, which was released in 2019.  

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Rock band The Killers released a tune in 2004 called “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” mocking Chambers’ defense to authorities he never would have killed Levin, as the two were “friends.” Sonic Youth’s landmark album Daydream Nation includes a song about the Chambers case titled “Eliminator Jr.” Chambers’ case is also mentioned in Brett Easton Ellis’ book American Psycho.


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