While there are scary stories of murders in universities, Jennifer Levin's horror story occurs between high school and college. In the summer of 1986, Jennifer Levin was happily college-bound when she was killed by Robert Chambers. Both of the teenagers lived in Manhattan and attended elite preparatory schools, causing the media to dub Chambers the "Preppy Killer."
Chambers strangled Levin to death in Central Park, later claiming he accidentally killed the teenager during an early morning session of kinky sex gone awry. Throughout his trial, Chambers's defense attorney attempted to paint Levin as a wanton young woman who was somehow to blame for her own death. As a result of this strategy, Chambers spent less time behind bars for killing Levin than he would for selling drugs after he was released from prison for manslaughter. Read on to discover the chilling and disquieting facts about the man who brutally asphyxiated a young, 18-year-old woman.
On August 26, 1986, 19-year-old Robert Chambers and Jennifer Levin, who had casually dated one another over the summer, left the Dorrian's Red Hand bar on Manhattan's Upper East Side together at approximately 4 am. According to Chambers, he and Levin went to Central Park to have sex and she used her underwear to bind his hands behind his back. However, Chambers claimed he became upset when she repeatedly squeezed his testicles.
In response to the pain, Chambers (6'5" and weighing 220 pounds) angrily reacted by knocking Levin off, hitting her in the throat with his arm. Levin was 5'4" and half his weight, and immediately fell backward onto the ground. Chambers said he knew "something was wrong," but he left the scene without attempting to revive Levin and didn't call 911 to get the young woman medical attention.
After killing Levin, Chambers didn't flee the scene. Instead, he sat on a wall not far from Levin's corpse until around a passing cyclist noticed the 18-year-old's lifeless body around 6 am and called 911 for help. When law enforcement and emergency services arrived at the park, Chambers was still in the area, but he didn't tell any of the officers that he knew Levin; consequently, police told Chambers, along with members of the public who were at the scene, to leave.
When detectives examined Levin's body, they found she was partially clothed and covered with bruises and cuts. They also noticed marks on her neck and the medical examiner later determined she had been strangled to death, not killed by a single blow to the throat as Chambers had claimed.
After the police told Chambers to leave the park, he went to the Manhattan apartment he shared with his parents and fell asleep. After learning Levin's identity and discovering she had been at Dorrian's Red Hand shortly before she died, police questioned the patrons who had been at the bar with the teenager. Investigators quickly learned the victim had left Dorrian's Red Hand with Chambers, so they went to his home to question him about his possible involvement in Levin's death.
When they arrived at the apartment, the officers noticed Chambers had scratches on his neck and face, so they brought him in for questioning. When investigators asked Chambers how he got the deep scratches on his body, he told the officers his cat - who detectives later learned had been declawed - had caused the injuries. Eventually, Chambers confessed to killing Levin, but he denied strangling her, instead telling officers it was a case of rough sex gone wrong.
According to detectives, after providing a videotaped confession to law enforcement, Chambers was surprised when he was placed under arrest. As he was being booked, Chambers reportedly said to his father: "That f*cking b*tch, why didn't she leave me alone?" Sadly, while Chambers may have been the first person to blame Levin for her death, he was hardly the last.
The press referred to Levin's journal as her "sex diary" because according to Chambers's defense attorney, it included details of "kinky and aggressive sexual activity by Jennifer Levin with many lovers." There was even article about how Levin, who had been strangled by a man who weighed twice as much as her, should be blamed for her own murder in a piece titled, "How Jennifer Courted Death."