The New Jersey man who once took Sarah Stern to prom and later helped dump her lifeless body over a bridge after she was murdered over a $10,000 stash of cash was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Friday.
Preston Taylor, 22, had pleaded guilty to the charges against him in connection with the 19-year-old's murder, which included disturbing or desecrating human remains and tampering with physical evidence. The judge ordered Taylor to serve 85% of his sentence before being considered for parole, meaning he will be behind bars for at least 15 years.
Sarah Stern's father, Michael Stern, left the courtroom as Taylor apologized for what he did, saying, "I should have known better."
He directed his apology to "Mr. Stern and all those who had the blessing of knowing Sarah" and called her "a very beautiful young woman who didn't in any way deserve the end you met."
Taylor was accused of helping friend Liam McAtasney dispose of Sarah's body after McAtasney killed her in December 2016. McAtasney, who was convicted of the murder in February, strangled Sarah during a robbery in which he hoped to find $100,000 in inheritance money stashed in a box belonging to Sarah's family. It turned out the stash was only worth $10,000.
Taylor testified for the state in McAtasney's trial 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 sentenced to life in prison.
Sarah's remains have never been found.