Sarah Stern Murder Trial: Liam McAtasney Found Guilty on All Charges
A New Jersey jury convicted a 21-year-old of brutally killing his high school classmate
A New Jersey jury convicted a 21-year-old of brutally killing his high school classmate.
Liam McAtasney was found guilty Tuesday of murdering aspiring artist Sarah Stern, 19, inside her Neptune City house in December 2016. His roommate, Preston Taylor, helped drop the woman's body off a bridge.
Her remains have not been found.
Prosecutors in Monmouth County said McAtasney strangled Stern during a robbery in which he hoped to find $100,000 in inheritance money stashed in a box. He ended up with only $10,000, they said.
McAtasney and roommate Preston Taylor, who had escorted Stern to the junior prom, threw her corpse off the Belmar Bridge and left her car there to make it look like a suicide, authorities said.
Earlier this month, jurors heard a chilling confession secretly recorded by a friend of McAtasney. In it, prosecutors told the court, McAtasney described how it took 30 minutes to strangle the woman. He eventually stuffed a shirt down her throat to keep her from vomiting, authorities said.
Taylor testified for the state after accepting a plea deal. On the stand, he said, "It started off as plans to either burglarize her house or rob her personally. Over time, the conversations progressed to killing her."
McAtasney was convicted of murder, robbery, desecration of human remains and tampering with evidence. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Taylor earlier pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, disturbing or desecrating human remains, two counts of hindering apprehension, and tampering with physical evidence. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
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