Jury Finds Neptune City Man Guilty Of Sarah Stern’s Murder

Liam McAtasney. (File photo)
Liam McAtasney. (File photo)

FREEHOLD – He killed Sarah Stern.

Liam McAtasney, 21, now faces the possibility of life without parole for the murder after a jury found him guilty on all counts in the death of 19-year-old Sarah Stern back in December 2016.

McAtasney was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree desecration of human remains, second-degree conspiracy (to desecrate human remains) and second-degree hindering apprehension.

He’ll be sentenced 9 a.m. May 24, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

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Sarah Stern. (File photo)
Sarah Stern. (File photo)

The then-19-year-old strangled Stern, then threw her body off the Route 35 bridge. Authorities said he was assisted by roommate Preston Taylor, who took Stern to their junior prom. The men left Stern’s car atop the bridge to give the appearance the young woman committed suicide.

Stern’s body was never recovered.

The murder was planned for months, over money. McAtasney believed Stern had $50,000 to $100,000 in cash, but in reality, had about $10,000 in old bills. Taylor lead authorities to a safe containing the money at Sandy Hook. He pleaded guilty to desecration of human remains, robbery and other charges. Taylor faces only 20 years in prison because of his cooperation with authorities. His sentencing date is pending.