PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Twenty-five years ago, New Yorkers were shocked by the Central Park killing of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin. The “preppy murder” case landed Robert Chambers in prison after a novel defense that said it was an accident.

“She died young and beautiful. She just didn’t die easily,” she told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

Jennifer was about to go to college, with dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Robert Chambers was 19. He  had attended East Side prep schools and spent a semester at Boston University until he got into trouble.

He had just broken up with his girlfriend, and walked with Jennifer Levin from an East Side bar over to Central Park – the last she was seen alive.

Photo Of Jennifer Levin (credit: CBS 2)

On the morning of August 25, 1986, a bicyclist found Jennifer Levin’s body, bruised and half-naked. She’d been strangled to death.

Chambers later took a defense of “rough sex.”

“His story was rough sex and everything else. He tried to make it sound like an accident and he didn’t mean it. And yet, when it was finished, he walked away and left her lifeless body in the park and that was it,” said Levin.

After 12 days of deliberation, Chambers accepted a plea bargain of manslaughter and 15 years. He served the entire term, due to bad behavior.

In 2004, Chambers was arrested for drugs and pleaded to a lesser charge, serving 100 days.

In 2007, he and a longtime girlfriend were arrested for running a cocaine operation out of her East Side apartment. Chambers pleaded and got 19 years.

“He got more time in jail for selling drugs than he got for murdering my daughter, which is pretty amazing,” Levin said.

Author Linda Fairstein, who prosecuted the case, said Chambers’ problem has always been alcohol and drugs.

“He wasted two lives. He killed Jennifer… He went to prison for 15 years, and when he got out, he started again.”

“He’s done so much damage to my family and I’m sure to his family too, that I try not to think about him at all. I just hope that he never gets back on the street,” Levin said.

Chambers, now 44, is still serving time.

For a mother who says this time of year is always tough, her daughter is nearby in a picture, frozen in time.

Chambers is currently serving time for the latest drug conviction at a correctional facility outside Buffalo. He could be eligible for a parole hearing in November 2023.

Do you think the plea bargain was the right decision? Sound off in our comments section below…

Comments (14)
  1. DanTe says:

    Maybe the Levins and Spierers should get together and share notes on how to raise fun girls.

    1. tj says:

      explain what you mean by that

      1. DanTe says:

        Really slow in da head ain’t ya?

    2. princeton1991 says:

      You could be both an idiot and moron simultaneously — bet you could write your own obit and laugh while being killed.

      1. DanTe says:

        It took princeton to teach you how to write this rambling bit of pathetic sarcasm?? You should get your money back. Or they did a really great job with the material at hand.

        Go have some “fun” and do your fixation on obits and killing bit. You folks seem to wallow in it.

  2. J Brown says:

    My childhood friend was killed that same day, and she lived in the Marcy projects. I think of her and the lack of concern for her demise. She happened to be Black and ignored by the media except for a five second soundbite. Whenever I hear Jennifer Levin’s name I think why is her life of higher value.

    1. KPMc says:

      I don’t know if the person who killed your friend was caught but I hope so.

      As for the difference in cases maybe we should be thankful that your friend’s death was at least treated with a little dignity.

      You are right that white girls get attention but the reason is the media is selling sex and violence. They like nothing better then when a pretty white girl is in trouble and don’t care how her memories are treated as long as they sell newspapers and get TV ratings.

      Maybe I am reading too much but I think I’d rather go quietly then have the media feed on my corpse while selling sex of a violent crime victim.

      Just because the white girl gets the attention doesn’t mean her memory is treated any better and in many cases she is treated much worse.

      And then of course we have hypocritical morons like DanTe… but that is a discussion for another day.

      1. DanTe says:

        But of course you would sympathize with the white girls here. Mc’s are known for raising fun girls to be used and tossed.

        As to J Brown: your friend was left alone because she wasn’t a fun girl that was used and tossed. Media piranhas find no tragedy in that.

  3. S. Southerland says:

    It’s ashame and very sad. I feel for Jennifer’s family, because the pain never goes away. I lost two Son’s to violence and I feel the pain everyday. Chamber’s is very sick and it appears he is still a danger.The people should not be at risk if he is released and uses drugs, he might kill again. Based on his history..

  4. max says:

    The trial and plea bargain were a travesty
    He murdered that poor girl and should have spent the rest of his life in jail
    To lose a child is the worst thing and to have such an injustice on top of it is just salt in an wound that would never heal

  5. Bigbrostyx Walls says:

    A right decision or not that’s the way the justice system works.Heart felt condolences to Ms.Levin.

  6. Vivian LUCAS says:

    Then he should have got life in prison,Thank GOD they finally got him.VENGENCE IS MINE SAYETH THE LORD,LEVIN family he didnt get away,he got caught for something less,and paying a heavy penalty for it,he wont ever have a NICE DAY.

  7. William says:

    who cares??

    1. William says:

      ahhh CLASS…….

Leave a Reply