Thirty years ago, Robert Chambers aka the “Preppie Killer” strangled to death 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in New York City’s Central Park. They met at Dorrian’s Red Hand Bar on East 84th Street in the tony neighborhood of the Upper East Side and left together. Levin’s body was later found in the park near Fifth Avenue and 83rd Street. When Chambers was questioned, he had scratches on his face which he initially claimed were from his cat. He changed his story several times after that and claimed that it was Levin who sexually assaulted him. The defense strategy was later coined “rough sex defense.” Chambers eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree. After serving his 15-year sentence, he was released from prison in 2003.
[True-crime novelist Linda Wolfe wrote ‘Wasted: Inside the Robert Chambers-Jennifer Levin Murder’]
In 2007, Chambers and his girlfriend, Shawn Kovell, were charged with running an illegal drug operation out of their Manhattan apartment. Prosecutors said Chambers sold as much as $2.8 million worth of heroin to undercover police. Chambers pleaded guilty to selling drugs to avoid life in prison and was sentenced to 19 years. (Kovell got five years probation.) Chambers is serving his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York where Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon on the other side of Central Park, is held. Chambers’ release date is January 25, 2024. 48 Hours will air its investigative report on Saturday, August 20 at 10pm on CBS.