New Jersey man sentenced to life in prison in 2016 murder of former classmate

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The New Jersey man convicted earlier this year of strangling his former classmate to death then tossing her body off a bridge and staging a suicide scene, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Liam McAtasney, 21, was handed a life sentence this week after being found guilty in February on all charges related to the December 2016 killing of his former high school classmate, 19-year-old Sarah Stern.

Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English tacked on an additional 10 year consecutive sentence for one charge of desecration of human remains and one charge of conspiracy to desecrate human remains, NJ.com reported.

Liam McAtasney, 21, was found guilty of murdering Sarah Stern, whose body has never been found. 
(Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office/Facebook)

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Prosecutors alleged McAtasney strangled Stern, then dumped her body off the Route 35 bridge in Belmar, staging the scene to make it look as though she killed herself. McAtasney worked with Preston Taylor, also a former classmate, to try to steal what they believed was $100,000 in a house owned by Stern's family.

McAtasney also discussed the murder with another classmate, Anthony Curry, in a secretly recorded conversation that was heard during the trial.

Defendant Liam McAtasney listens as his attorney Carlos Diaz-Cobo addresses the jury during closing arguments in Monmouth County Superior Court, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 in Freehold, N.J.. (Patti Sapone/NJ Advance Media via AP, Pool)

In the video, McAtasney told Curry that he “pretty much hung [Stern]” and then shoved a shirt down the victim's throat and placed his finger on her nose.

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"It took me a half hour to kill her," said McAtasney, who added that he had "set a timer," and claimed Stern’s dog “laid there and watched as I killed her.”

Prior to Friday’s sentencing, McAtasney had asked for a retrial after it was discovered that a juror in the case had left a comment on a Facebook article about the case: “Sitting on the jury LMAO.”

Stern’s remains have never been found.

Fox News' Nicole Darrah and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.

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