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New Jersey man found guilty of strangling teen, throwing her body from bridge

A jury on Tuesday found a northern New Jersey man guilty of strangling his childhood friend and throwing her body from a bridge in an effort to steal her inheritance money, CBS New York reported.

Prosecutors said 21-year-old Liam McAtasney killed 19-year-old Sarah Stern inside her Neptune City home in December 2016. He and his roommate, Preston Taylor, then dumped her body off the Belmar Bridge near the New Jersey shore. Stern's body was never found.

McAtasney was convicted of murder, robbery and other counts including desecration of human remains, the Associated Press reported. His sentencing is set for May, where he'll be facing life in prison.

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Sarah Stern CBS New York

Earlier this month, prosecutors showed the jury what they called a confession from McAtasney. His friend, Andrew Curry, secretly recorded it two months after Stern disappeared. Defense attorney Carlos Diaz-Cobo called the conversation a lie McAtasney spun to impress the amateur horror filmmaker with whom he was conversing, according to the AP.

Prosecutors said McAtasney and Taylor were after Stern's inheritance money from her late mother, CBS New York reported.

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Liam McAtasney, left, and Preston Taylor Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

Taylor, who attended junior prom with Stern, took a plea deal and testified against McAtasney.

"It started off as plans to either burglarize her house or to rob her personally," he testified. "Over time the conversations progressed to killing her."

Taylor has not yet been sentenced. He faces up to 20 years in prison on counts including robbery, conspiracy, disturbing or desecrating human remains and hindering apprehension.

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