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Neptune Man Takes Plea Deal, Claims Pair Planned Former Classmate's Death For Months

FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- There was a courtroom confession Monday, from one of two teenagers charged in the murder of a girl from New Jersey.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, Preston Taylor came clean about money, lies and greed -- admitting his own guilt, and that of his co-conspirators.

With his had on the bible, 19-year-old Taylor, described the brutal details involved in murdering his former friend Sarah Stern for her money.

"Make it look like a suicide," he said when asked why the car was left abandoned.

The Neptune resident took a plead deal.

"It's clear Preston Taylor plead guilty to those counts, accepted responsibility, agreed to cooperate with the state in our continuing prosecution," Monmouth County Prosecutor, Christopher Gramiccioni said.

The agreement was in exchange for ratting out his former roommate, Liam McAtasney, with whom he claims to have plotted for months -- knowing Stern inherited $10,000 from her deceased mother.

Sarah's father Michael Stern broke down in tears as Taylor described moving her body twice after McAtasney strangled her.

She was dragged from a downstairs bathroom to a bush in the backyard and covered with leaves.

Later that night, the two men put Stern's lifeless body in her car and drove over to the Route 35 bridge in Belmar.

"He was unable to lift her body over the railing," Taylor recalled.

Taylor said he and McAtasney buried Stern's safe in Shark River Park, and another safe with their money on Sandy Hook -- conspiring to cover it up.

The search for her body is ongoing.

There was a loud gasp in the courtroom when the judge asked Taylor what his cut of the deal was -- merely $3,000 to dispose of her body. Now, he will pay with up to 20 years in prison.

Sentencing for Taylor will not happen until after McAtasney's trial.


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