Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Killing in Central Park: The Preppy Murder Case

"The First Man Raped in Central Park"

Soon, Chambers related what he said was the true story about how he had first seen Jennifer the night before in Dorrian's. A.D.A Saracco decided to tape the confession. In 1986, videotaping the statements of suspects was still new but not unknown. Sometimes the results of confessions on videotape can work against prosecutors. But at about midnight, in the presence of Det. Sheehan, Det. McEntee and A.D.A. Saracco, Robert Chambers gave his version of the death of Jennifer Levin.

Saracco read Chambers the Miranda warnings. Then, Chambers was asked how he came to be with Jennifer at Dorrian's the night before. He said that he was in the bar with friends when his girlfriend, Alex, began to argue with him in front of everyone. He said this embarrassed him and got him angry. Within a few minutes, Jennifer came over and said that she wanted to talk to him.

"I had a shot of tequila...and I did my shot and went outside and I met Jennifer. And then we started walking to 86th Street," Chamber said on the videotape. He said that he told Jennifer that he didn't want to see her anymore but she wouldn't hear of it. She wanted to go to the park.

"No, no, I want to go home," he said to her. In spite of his initial refusal to go to the park, Chambers said they both wound up in a grassy spot behind the museum. "I didn't even want to be with her," he said. Chambers described Jennifer as very sexually aggressive and he had to push her away several times. More than once, he said that he rejected her attempts at sex. They sat down on a bench and Jennifer disappeared into the bushes for a minute.

"The next thing I recall is she grabbed me from behind and tied my arms up behind my back with her panties," Chambers said.

Robert Chambers (POLICE)
Robert Chambers (POLICE)
"She started to take off my pants, she started to play with me. She started to jerk me off. She was doing it really hard. ...And I-you know-I started to say, 'Stop it! Stop it! It hurts!" Chambers said. "She like sat on my face and then she dug her nails into my chest and I have scratches right here," Chambers said as he showed the cuts to the camera. "She was just having her way...I just could not take it...she was leaning forward, jerking me off and squeezing my balls and laughing, and I managed to get my hands free. So I kind of sat up a little and just grabbed her," Chambers said. "It-it was just really quick, she just flipped over and then landed, and she was kind of twisted on the tree. On her side." And that was it. That's how Jennifer died. That was the explanation offered by Chambers: she died by accident when he pushed her off of him after she tied him up with her panties, forced him down on the ground and groped his penis. In summary, he was defending himself against rape.

Chambers explaining how Jennifer died (POLICE)
Chambers explaining how Jennifer died
(POLICE)
When the detectives expressed doubt on his story, Chambers became rigid and defensive. "She was having her way with me. Without my consent. With my hands tied behind my back," he said. But no matter how he tried to explain the event, Chambers could not explain the injuries to Jennifer's neck and body. He stuck to his story as improbable as it sounded.

After he saw that Jennifer was not responding, Chambers said he simply left the area and walked over to a nearby wall. "Then I went across and I sat on the wall and the lady with the bike came and then the police came and an ambulance came," he said. And after the killing, after he knew that Jennifer was dead? "And then I just walked through the park all the way up to Ninetieth Street...And I just, I went upstairs and got undressed and went to sleep," he said.

"I've been in this business for a while, and you're the first man I've seen raped in Central Park," Saracco said. The video ended and Chambers was formally placed under arrest and charged with the murder of Jennifer Levin. Before booking, he was allowed to visit with his father who was waiting out by the front desk. When he walked into the room, Chambers stood up and blurted out a statement that his father later said he didn't hear.

"That fucking bitch, why didn't she leave me alone?" he said.

 

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