Accused killer in Sarah Stern's murder case demands new trial claiming juror who posted 'LMAO' on Facebook tainted his trial
Liam McAtasney and Preston Taylor plotted the murder of Sarah Stern to steal about $100,000 that she found in one of her family's homes in Avon
Liam McAtasney of Neptune City, New Jersey, who was found guilty of murdering his childhood friend Sarah Stern, has demanded that he get a new trial, even though his sentencing was originally scheduled for May 24. Superior Court Judge Richard W. English who presided over the trial has postponed the date of sentencing so he could consider McAtasney's request for a new trial.
McAtasney’s defense attorney, Carlos Diaz-Cobo requested English to set aside the current jury's verdict and order a new trial, claiming that social media influenced the jury. One of the jurors, Emily Allen, posted in response to an article about the trial on Facebook, "I'm on this trial lmao [Laughing My A** off]," during the trial. When asked about it, she said that it was her sister who posted it but was removed from the jury anyway. She further went on to discuss why she was removed from the jury with a fellow juror, and further influenced the trial, claims Diaz-Cobo. The motion for re-trial is scheduled to be heard on May 24.
The 21-year-old was found guilty of murder, felony murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, desecration of human remains, tampering with evidence and hindering his own apprehension during the trial. His accomplice and one-time roommate Preston Taylor, who was also Stern's junior prom date, testified that the two of them plotted the murder of 19-year-old Stern for months so that they could steal what they assumed to be about $100,000 that she had found in a house her family owns in Avon.
Taylor revealed that after McAtasney came home on December 2, 2016, he claimed to have just strangled Stern, after which the duo drove to retrieve her body, took it to the Route 35 bridge from Neptune to Belmar, and threw it into the Shark River. They left her car on the bridge to make it seem like it was a suicide. The body has not been found yet.
A horrific video also surfaced during the trial, in which McAtasney could be heard describing in detail how he strangled Stern and threw her body off the bridge along with Taylor, before cribbing about how they could only get about $10,000 after the murder, and that they were all in the form of old, tattered bills, which were essentially worthless.