NEW YORK – The "preppie killer" who served 15 years behind bars for strangling a woman in Central Park during what he said was rough sex is headed back to prison for a drug offense.
Robert Chambers pleaded guilty Monday to criminal sale of a controlled substance and assault on a police officer. He and his girlfriend were arrested in October 2007 in an undercover sting at their Manhattan apartment on charges of dealing cocaine.
The district attorney's office said Chambers has been promised 19 years and four months in prison when he is sentenced next month. Chambers will get six years on the assault charge, which will run concurrently, and will have five years of supervision after his release.
A telephone call to Chambers' attorney, Valerie Van Leer-Greenberg, was not immediately returned Monday.
Chambers initially pleaded not guilty and was facing life in prison if convicted after trial. His attorney had planned to present a psychiatric defense at trial, arguing that his brain and judgment were damaged because of years of drug abuse. She had said he was using up to 12 bags of heroin plus other drugs each day at the time of his arrest.
Chambers' girlfriend, Shawn Kovell, admitted in state Supreme Court in December that the two sold narcotics to an undercover detective. Under the terms of her plea deal, she was sent to a drug rehabilitation center, and upon completion of her program she will be allowed to withdraw the guilty plea and plead to a lesser charge so she can receive a sentence of probation.
Her lawyer, Frank Rothman, said at the time that she was a drug addict and that it was her first arrest.
Chambers, now 41, became tabloid fodder in 1986 after the death of Jennifer Levin, an 18-year-old graduate of the exclusive Baldwin School, during a tryst in Central Park. The slaying made headlines as a story of a handsome, privileged prep school youth gone bad.
Chambers pleaded guilty in 1988 to manslaughter and was released from prison in 2003 after serving the maximum 15 years because of discipline problems behind bars, including dealing drugs.
A year after his release from prison, police arrested him for misdemeanor heroin possession and unlicensed driving. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 100 days in jail and was fined $200.