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Time Warner chief’s son found shot to death in NYC apartment

June 3, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The schoolteacher son of Time Warner’s chief was found bound, gagged and lying dead in a pool of blood in his Manhattan apartment.

The body of Jonathan Levin, 31, was found by police Monday night after coworkers at Taft High School in the Bronx told neighbors he had not shown up for his job as an English teacher. His father is the company’s chief executive officer, Gerald Levin.

An autopsy found he died from a gunshot wound to the head, said Medical Examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.

There were no signs of forced entry and the apartment was in good condition, but the body had begun to decompose, said police spokeswoman Noreen Murray. An investigative source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Levin apparently had been dead since late last week.

Neighbor Richard Veloso let police into the flat and said he saw Levin lying face down, halfway out of the kitchen, with a pool of blood around his head.

Levin’s dog, a German shepherd named Julius, was found shut in the bedroom, Veloso said.

``I had a key because I would take care of the dog when he worked late at school,″ Veloso added. ``The dog was barking all weekend.″ He said he took the dog out of the apartment as police began their investigation.

Jonathan was the youngest of three children born to Gerald Levin and his former wife, Carol.

His father, 58, became chairman of Time Warner four years ago after the death of Steven Ross, who built Warner Communications and engineered its takeover of Time Inc.

Levin put his own stamp on the media conglomerate with last year’s $7.5 billion purchase of Turner Broadcasting System Inc., bringing CNN under the roof with HBO and the huge Time Warner cable television system.

At Taft High, eight people were taken to the hospital with stress-related problems after hearing the news this morning.

``He was the best role model. He was always smiling and always kind,″ said student Augustin Quiles. ``I couldn’t wait for his class.″

Thelma Ortiz, a cashier at the Arista Deli, two doors down from Levin’s apartment, said he would stop in each day. ``He was very friendly and he would wave whenever he passed by,″ she said in her native Spanish. ``He was an English teacher and he lent me English books.″

Neighbors described him as a humble man who never mentioned his family’s wealth. ``I had no idea he had such famous parents,″ Ms. Ortiz said. She said he had dated several women in the recent past.

The apartment is on Columbus Avenue near 70th Street on the prosperous Upper West Side.

Levin was hired at Taft in 1995 after graduating from New York University’s School of Education with a master’s degree. At Taft he ``was highly regarded by colleagues, students and parents,″ said Board of Education spokeswoman Judy Artime.

Time Warner President Richard D. Parsons said in a statement: ``The sympathy, love and prayers of all the women and men of Time Warner go out to Jerry, Barbara, Carol Levin and the entire Levin family.″

Barbara Levin is Gerald Levin’s current wife.

Update hourly