A New Jersey court heard a secret confession reportedly made by an accused murderer who described how he killed his high school classmate in 2016 before throwing her body off a bridge.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Liam McAtasney was recorded saying it took “half an hour to kill” Sarah Stern, 19, who vanished in late November 2016. McAtasney’s friend, Anthony Curry, testified that he recorded the January 31, 2017, exchange “at the behest of police,” who he reportedly contacted a month after Stern’s disappearance from her home.
Curry also claimed McAtasney told him on Thanksgiving 2016, a week before Stern’s disappearance, of his plans to get her drunk, murder her, and steal money she inherited when her mother died years earlier, according to WABC.
During the video reportedly shot in Curry’s car, McAtasney graphically recalled how he strangled Stern for an extended period of time while she convulsed and ultimately died. McAtasney allegedly said he put a finger over Stern’s nose and stuffed a shirt down her throat to prevent her from vomiting.
“I picked her up and had her just dangling off the ground,” he told Curry. “She p**sed herself, said my name. It took me a half hour to kill her. I choked her out, and she was just laying there, having a seizure.”
McAtasney is heard in the video saying that he returned to Stern’s home with his roommate, Preston Taylor, to dispose of her body. He told Curry he put Stern’s body in the passenger’s seat and pulled out of the driveway as she would; he explained that he studied how Stern drove so that when he used her vehicle it wouldn’t raise any suspicion. It is not clear how or when McAtasney observed her driving.
Taylor followed McAtasney to the Route 35 bridge in another car and helped throw Stern over the railing into the waters below, McAtasney said in the video.
WABC reported Stern’s car was located near Route 35 Bridge over the Shark River Inlet with the keys still in the ignition. Her body was never found.
Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Doyle previously told jurors how McAtasney only acquired $8,000 in Stern’s murder. He reportedly believed, mistakenly, that she had $100,000 in cash.
Taylor pleaded guilty in April 2017 to first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, and second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains. He’s expected to testify against McAtasney during the ongoing trial.
***WARNING: The video below contains language that could be offensive to some viewers. Please use discretion.***
[Featured image: Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office video screengrab]