MINEOLA (WABC) -- A Long Island teen who confessed to strangling a girl and leaving her body on a footbridge in Rockville Centre pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday in order to save both his family and the victim's family from going through the ordeal of a trial.
Maxwell Sherman, 19, admitted that he killed 18-year-old Lauren Daverin-Gresham in 2013.
Her naked body was found underneath the footbridge.
"She was a really fun person and everyone loved to be around her," friend Samantha Maselli said. "She always had fun. There was a never a boring time when you were around her."
Her older sister posted a note to Daverin on a Facebook page set up to honor the teen.
"To my beautiful baby sister," she wrote. "I love you so much. Every part of my heart is broken and I cannot wait to meet you again in another life."
The victim's mother, Kathleen Daverin, was surrounded by more than a dozen relatives and friends at the proceeding.
"I'm just glad justice was finally served for my little girl," she said in a brief statement to reporters before breaking down in tears outside the courthouse.
In a statement, Acting DA Madeline Singas said, "I want to thank the multiple law enforcement agencies that worked with my office to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute this case."
Sherman was unemployed and living with his parents in Long Beach at the time. His distinctive red hair helped witnesses place him at the crime scene.
Defense attorney William Petrillo told reporters the plea agreement required his client to admit only to the murder charge.
"Maxwell made a well informed decision considering multiple factors; the strength of the evidence in the case (and) his desire from the beginning ... to spare both his family and the victim's family a long drawn out trial," Petrillo said.
Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherall said the victim's family signed off on the resolution of the case, which calls for Sherman to spend 18 years to life in prison when he is sentenced June 11. If convicted of both counts in the indictment at trial, Sherman could have faced up to 32 years to life in prison.
Teen pleads guilty in murder of teen found on Rockville Centre footbridge
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