Robert Chambers, infamous for his moniker as the “Preppy Killer” after being convicted of murdering teenager Jennifer Levin in Central Park in 1986, has been released from prison. On Tuesday, the 56-year-old former prep student walked free from New York’s Shawangunk Correctional Facility, where he had been serving a 19-year sentence for criminal sale of controlled substances and second-degree assault.
Chambers’ drug-related charges stem from his 2008 arrest for dealing cocaine and heroin from his Manhattan apartment. He served 15 years of his sentence and will now be under parole until 2028.
The murder of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin shocked the nation in 1986. Her lifeless body, strangled and half-naked, was discovered by a cyclist in Central Park, near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Chambers was arrested and initially claimed that Levin’s death was the result of consensual “rough sex” in the park. However, prosecutors contended that Levin was raped and murdered. After a prolonged trial, Chambers eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter, leading to 15 years of imprisonment before his release in 2003.
The case of the “Preppy Killer” left a lasting impact on pop culture, inspiring various TV series, songs, and movies. A 1989 made-for-TV movie featured Billy Baldwin as Chambers and Lara Flynn Boyle portraying Levin. Additionally, the popular TV series Law & Order dedicated an episode to the crime in 1990. The AMC docuseries The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park, released in 2019, re-examined the details of the case.
Musicians also drew inspiration from the chilling crime. The rock band The Killers released a song titled “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” in 2004, mocking Chambers’ defense that he would never harm Levin as they were “friends.” Sonic Youth’s album Daydream Nation includes a track named “Eliminator Jr.” about the Chambers case, while author Bret Easton Ellis mentions it in his book American Psycho.
Chambers’ release has reignited discussions about the criminal justice system and the impact of high-profile cases on society. However, as per the report, no lawyer representing Chambers was listed for contact at the time of his release.