Accomplice in Sarah Stern murder gets 18 years in prison in New Jersey

FREEHOLD, New Jersey (WABC) -- The man who helped dump the body of his former prom date after his roommate murdered her in New Jersey in 2016 was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison.

Preston Taylor, 22, of Neptune City, previously pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiracy, disturbing or desecrating human remains, hindering apprehension and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of Sarah Stern.

He then testified against now-convicted murderer Liam McAtasney, who was sentenced last week to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

McAtasney strangled Stern at her home in Neptune and then tossed her body -- which has never been recovered -- into the Shark River Inlet in 2016.

He was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains, third-degree hindering apprehension and fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence.

While the two had been friends, prosecutors say McAtasney had plotted to rob Stern of inheritance money. Her unoccupied vehicle was found hours later on the Route 35 Bridge with the keys still in the ignition.

Taylor helped dispose of the body.

Jurors in McAtasney's trial also heard a chilling, grisly confession allegedly recorded by one of McAtasney's friends.

Anthony Curry, an amateur filmmaker, came forward to authorities in January 2017, about a month after the murder. He testified that McAtasney had approached him the previous Thanksgiving with his plan to kill Stern and steal money left to her when her mother had passed away.
After Stern's disappearance, Curry went to police, who had him contact McAtasney and arrange a face to face meeting. In a secret video recording set up in Curry's car, McAtasney allegedly admitted in graphic detail choking Stern for a half an hour, stealing her safe and disposing of her body.

In the alleged confession, McAtasney described Stern going into convulsion and taking a half hour to die. Most of the details are too disturbing to print.

Prosecutors alleged that McAtasney killed Stern over roughly $8,000 that was in her home. He apparently thought he was going to get $100,000 but was mistaken about the amount of cash.

Stern was last seen at her home on the night of December 2, 2016.

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