FREEHOLD – A Tinton Falls woman was found guilty of strangling her girlfriend months after a failed attempt on her life.
Jennifer Sweeney, 38, was convicted on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, three related weapons offenses, second-degree desecration of human remains, and fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of 41-year-old Tyrita Julius of Linden.
“The suffering endured by Tyrita Julius at the hands of someone who was supposed to care for her during the last several months of her life was unspeakable, and while today’s verdict can’t bring Tyrita back, we hope it offers some sense of solace and closure to her friends and family,” Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said.
The case goes back to Middlesex Street in Linden on November 24, 2015. Julius had been shot eight times in the driver’s seat of her vehicle. Linden police responded to the shooting and found her car crashed into a utility pole near her house. Her teenage daughter, in the passenger seat, had been shot once.
Julius was hospitalized but later recovered.
On March 9, 2016, her mother reported Julius missing to both the Linden and Long Branch police departments. The police learned that she had been spending time with a female friend in Tinton Falls the day before, but didn’t come home.
On August 16, 2016, she was found buried in the back yard of Andre Harris, 37, of Long Branch. Harris was the one who had shot her months earlier. Police said she was wrapped in garbage bags with an electrical cord around her neck. Sweeney and Harris were subsequently arrested and charged, with a Monmouth County grand jury returning an indictment against each in December 2016.
Harris later reached a plea agreement for a New Jersey State Prison term of 16 years, with 85 percent to be served before the possibility of parole under the No Early Release Act, and agreed to testify during Sweeney’s trial. Sweeney now faces up to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, November 19, 2021.
“I’d also like to recognize and thank the many police agencies in Monmouth and Union counties that contributed to this investigation, which featured a great number of moving parts and stands out as an excellent example of the power of collaboration in law enforcement,” Linskey said.