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Youth Held Without Bail In Strangulation Death Of Teen-Ager

August 29, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ An unemployed college dropout charged with the killing of an 18-year-old friend in Central Park is being held without bail despite claims by his lawyer that the girl’s death was ″a tragic accident.″

Robert Chambers, 19, had no prior criminal record and did not attempt to flee, his lawyer, Jack Litman, told Judge Richard Lowe at Chambers’ arraignment Thursday in the death of Jennifer Dawn Levin.

″Yes, but he didn’t turn himself in, either,″ Lowe replied as he ordered Chambers held without bail and set a hearing for Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Stewart Schwarz said Chambers’ claim that he did not intend to hurt Miss Levin was inconsistent with bruises on her face and neck and bite marks on her breasts found when her body was discovered early Tuesday in Central Park.

Chambers, a Boston University dropout who lives with his mother in an expensive Manhattan neighborhood, told police he choked Miss Levin reflexively when she hurt him during sex in the park that ″got rough.″

Miss Levin, scheduled to enter college in Boston this fall, had run into Chambers, whom she had dated a few times, at a singles bar frequented by fashionable young New Yorkers. They left together around 4:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, a bicyclist found her strangled body in the park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The New York Times quoted law-enforcement officials today as saying Chambers told police in a statement that he watched from nearby as the body was discovered by the bicyclist and removed by police.

Chambers told police that he struck her with his arm and she fell over. He was not sure how seriously she was injured so he dressed and watched her from nearby until an ambulance took her away and then he went home, the Times reported.

Chief of Detectives Richard Nicastro said Miss Levin appeared to have been sexually assaulted, and Chambers had scratches on his face and chest that indicated Miss Levin had tried to fight him off.

One of the bartenders at the singles bar where the two met Monday evening, Dorrian’s Red Hand, is John Zaccaro Jr., the 22-year-old son of former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, the New York Post reported today.

Nicastro said Chambers was brought to the Central Park precinct for questioning and charged after police talked to witnesses at the bar.

Miss Levin graduated last spring from the Baldwin School, a private school, and had planned to enter Chamberlayne Junior College in Boston next week.

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