- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) The family of Jennifer Levin has learned to live without the beloved teen after her strangling in Central Park: 17 years of missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays.
This Valentine's Day, the Levin family must endure a new form of agony: the release of Jennifer's killer.
Confessed "Preppie Killer" Robert Chambers will exit an upstate prison on Feb. 14 after serving the maximum time on his manslaughter conviction for killing Miss Levin, 18, on Aug. 26, 1986.
"Obviously, this is a very difficult time for the family," said Linda Fairstein, who has remained close to the Levins since prosecuting the case against Chambers. "Their child will never come home."
For the Levins, the prospect of Chambers returning to the city is overwhelming. "I find that very unpleasant," said the slain girl's mother, Ellen Levin, as Chambers' release became imminent.
Miss Levin's sister, Danielle Roberts, said she was "haunted by a feeling of dread" over Chambers' departure from the Auburn Correctional Facility.
The Levin slaying, splashed across the city's tabloids in the summer of 1986, was a made-for-TV movie waiting to happen a glimpse into the lives of callow patrons of the Upper East Side bar scene.
The suspect, a college dropout with a taste for cocaine, was Hollywood handsome. The victim was pretty, a private-school student from a well-to-do family. The defense consensual "rough sex" gone amok was startling.
"Our lives became the media event of the year," Steven Levin, Miss Levin's father, said at Chambers' sentencing.
Nothing that Chambers has done since going to prison in April 1988 has changed the negative perceptions of the 6-foot-4, dark-featured killer.
Chambers, now 36, racked up an assortment of violations behind bars heroin possession, assaulting a guard, weapon possession. His bids for parole were rejected five times, and he spent about a third of his time in solitary confinement.
Shortly after his sentencing, a videotape surfaced showing Chambers snapping the head off a small doll. "Oops, I think I killed it," Chambers cracked, the doll's head in his hand.
Chambers admitted strangling Miss Levin after they met in Dorrian's Red Hand, an Upper East Side yuppie bar. Her battered, partially nude body was found under a tree behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the pair went after leaving the bar.
At a 1995 parole hearing, Chambers expressed no remorse about the crime.
"I guess I could also give you the party line and say I have learned my lesson, I will never do this again," Chambers said. "But that's not how I feel at this moment."
Chambers was about a month short of his 20th birthday when he was charged with murdering Miss Levin.
Although his attorney pressed the "rough sex" defense, Mrs. Fairstein offered another motive: Chambers flew into a rage set off by his impotence. Jurors were in their ninth day of deliberations when Chambers opted to take a deal, pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in return for a 15-year jail term.
After Chambers' incarceration, Mrs. Levin worked tirelessly to ensure he would serve the maximum sentence. She collected tens of thousands of signatures on petitions opposing his release, and was a constant presence at parole hearings.

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