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New York City’s infamous “Preppy Killer,” Robert Chambers, who brutally strangled a teen girl in Central Park in 1986, has been released from prison on parole after serving 15 years in prison on separate drug charges.
Chambers, 56, was released Tuesday from New York’s Shawangunk Correctional Facility about 70 miles north of Manhattan, the scene of his violent crime, state Department of Correction records show.
Chambers’ actions first led to lurid headlines when he fatally strangled 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in Central Park on August 26, 1986, when he was 19.
He was dubbed the “Preppy Killer” by the media at the time because of his clean-shaven appearance. He also earned the moniker the “Central Park Strangler.”
The two mingled in a high society social circle, and Chambers had a reputation as popular with the ladies and a drug user.
On the night of the murder, both Chambers and Levin were at Dorrian’s Red Hand, a bar on the Upper East Side. Levin reportedly expressed her desire for a serious relationship to Chambers, and the two left the bar to have sex near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The tryst ended with Chambers becoming violent and Levin fighting for her life in a struggle that lasted several minutes. Chambers beat her and smothered her with his jacket.
Levin’s half-naked corpse was found by a bicyclist early the next morning. Chambers reportedly hid nearby and watched as police began investigating the scene.
Chambers changed his story several times but eventually stuck to his claim that he had strangled Levin by accident to stop her from hurting him during “rough sex.”
The sexual assault claim raised eyebrows since Chambers was more than a foot taller than the 5’4″ Levin and almost double her weight.
“I’ve been in this business for a while, and you’re the first man I’ve seen raped in Central Park,” the prosecutor told Chambers at the time.
Chambers was convicted of manslaughter nearly two years after the killing and sentenced to 15 years behind bars in April 1988.
The jury initially failed to reach a verdict after nine days, so Chambers accepted a plea deal from the prosecution, pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter and admitting that he intended to hurt Levin enough to kill her.
“It breaks my heart to have to say that. The Levin family has gone through hell because of my actions, and I am sorry,” Chambers said in court during his sentencing.
Chambers was eventually released in 2003 amid frenzied media coverage after serving his entire prison term due to many infractions.
However, he landed back behind bars for selling cocaine and heroin out of his Manhattan apartment and resisting arrest.
His legal team said Chambers himself had been a drug addict since he was a young teenager and was using an enormous amount of heroin daily. However, prosecutors argued that Chambers was a drug dealer and had sold thousands in drugs, including $2,800 in heroin to undercover police.
In 2008, Chambers pled guilty to selling drugs, and he was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Chambers’ current whereabouts are unknown for the time being. He will be on parole until 2028, according to prison records.