Once a tabloid fixture, the man who killed Jennifer Levin is now serving 19 years on a drug charge

By Steve Helling
Updated August 06, 2016 10:35 AM
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Credit: Louis Lanzano/AP

It was a shocking crime that first made headlines in New York City – and then quickly spread across the nation.

In August 1986, 18-year-old Jennifer Levin was found by a cyclist in Central Park. She had been strangled. Arrested for the crime: Robert Chambers, a handsome 20-year-old who had attended several prep schools and spent a semester at Boston University.

The case was soon dubbed “The Preppy Murder” and became a daily fixture in newspapers and on tabloid television.

Chambers was arrested and charged with two counts of manslaughter. His defense argued that Levin’s death had occurred during “rough sex.”

Chambers’ Life Today

After the jury deadlocked, Chambers pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison. He was released in 2003 – but soon found himself in trouble again.

After holding a series of odd jobs, he was arrested for selling drugs out of his New York apartment. In 2008, he was sentenced to 19 years in jail. His earliest release date from prison is Jan. 25, 2024

Meanwhile, Levin’s family has moved forward. Her mother, Ellen Levin, has become a noted victims advocate to help other families deal with their grief.

Still, the family still mourns the loss of the vivacious, bright 18-year-old. “I think [about] what Jennifer might be doing, what she would look like,” her mother, Ellen Levin, told PEOPLE after Chambers was released. “I think about the grandchildren I won’t have. Her dream was to be a designer, but that’s gone now. And all that loss runs deep.”

Thirty years after the murder, the Reelz channel revisits the crime in its docuseries Murder Made Me Famous. In Saturday night’s episode, many key players in the case speak out – some for the first time in decades.

Murder Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous murderers. The show is hosted by PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling.

The Robert Chambers episode airs Saturday (9 p.m. ET) on the Reelz Channel.