‘Preppy Killer’ Robert Chambers Released From Prison After Serving 15 Years in Drug, Assault Case

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While the 2008 arrest was Chambers' most recent brush with the law, he gained notoriety in the 1980s as the “Preppy Killer.”

Robert Chambers, the man known as the “Pretty Killer,” has been released from prison after serving 15 years of a 19-year sentence in a drug and assault case, according to New York State Department of Corrections.

Chambers, 56, left New York’s Shawangunk Correctional Facility Tuesday after serving 15 years of a 19-year sentence for running a cocaine and heroin operation out of his Manhattan apartment, according to New York State Department of Corrections.

He is now being supervised in Rockland County and is scheduled to be on parole until July 2028, according to the Department of Corrections.

Chambers was busted in 2008 for dealing drugs including cocaine and heroin, from his Manhattan apartment, as previously reported.

While the 2008 arrest was Chambers' most recent brush with the law, he gained notoriety in the 1980s as the “Preppy Killer.”

During the morning hours of Aug. 26, 1986, detectives from the NYPD arrived to Central Park to find the grizzly scene of an 18-year-old woman with her clothing around her neck and cuts and bruises all over her body. Her skirt was raised above her waist, and her underwear lay 50 yards from the scene.

Jennifer Levin, a soon-to-be-college student, had been killed.

As detectives canvassed the scene, her killer, a then-20-year-old Chambers, was lurking nearby, hiding as he watched the beginning of an investigation that would take hold of the city and country.

Chambers grew up in Manhattan with his Irish mother, who immigrated to the country before she had her son. She worked hard as a nurse to give him the very best. His father worked at MCA Records. Chambers attended the best prep schools as a child, had the best clothes and was a regular during Sunday mass at his Catholic church where he was an altar boy. Chambers was even rumored to have had play dates with John F. Kennedy Jr. when they were both children.

As much as his mother wanted the best for him, he only got as much of a privileged life as her paycheck allowed. Chambers was labeled as antisocial and had a hard time fitting in with his fellow classmates at dignified places of academia.

Chambers attended Boston University but only completed one semester before leaving for academic reasons.  

In the summer of 1986, he met Jennifer Levin at his favorite watering hole, Dorrian’s Red Hand, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Levin grew up middle-class in Long Island. She moved to Manhattan with her father before heading off to a Boston junior college.

New York was a hotbed of crime by the time the couple met and began a summer fling in 1986.

Following an investigation, Chambers was picked up by police and questioned. He had scratch marks on his face, which he claimed he got from his cat. He said he was raped by Levin. However, his story eventually changed and he explained that her death was an accident and that the couple had rough sex.

Just about 24 hours after she was found dead, he was arraigned on a murder charge.

Once the press got a hold of what Chambers looked like, he was dubbed “The Preppy Killer,” and the case became not just the talk of New York but of the country.

Chambers pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter and was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison. He served all 15 years of his sentence and was released in 2003.

His story continues to be a tabloid sensation and part of the pop culture zeitgeist.

The case of Chambers and Levin was the basis of a 1989 made-for-TV movie starring Billy Baldwin as Chambers and Lara Flynn Boyle as Levin, while “Law & Order” based a 1990 episode on the crime.

On their 2004 debut, “Hot Fuss," The Killers penned their opening tune of the record, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” about Chambers’ defense to authorities he never would have killed Levin, as the two were “friends,” People reported.

Sonic Youth’s 1988 record “Daydream Nation” includes a song about the Chambers case titled “Eliminator Jr.” Chambers’ case is also mentioned in Brett Easton Ellis’ book "American Psycho,” People said.

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