Liam McAtasney is a New Jersey-born resident. He had been friends with Sarah Stern since they were children. In December of 2016, Stern disappeared to the alarm of the community. Anthony Curry, friend, and former classmate to both McAtasney and Stern has reason to suspect McAtasney, due to Stern coming across a large sum of money before her disappearance.
Stern and McAtasney had found a shoebox full of cash that was left by Stern’s deceased mother. She was set to get an even larger inheritance later on as well. Employees from the Kearny Bank testified that Stern’s money had to have been printed in the 1980s and was no longer in circulation.
Curry came forward to to the police in January of 2017 and admitted that McAtasney had previously made remarks about killing Stern during Thanksgiving of 2016. At the time, Curry had dismissed the comments but then grew concerned when Stern disappeared a month later he told a courtroom in a video shared online by NJ.com.
Due to Curry stepping forward and sharing video recording of messages on Snapchat, Monmouth County Prosecutors were able to obtain a warrant for consensual recording.
The video evidence was brought to court, where McAtasney admitted to Curry that he did kill Stern, according to ABC News.
“I pretty much hung her,” McAtasney said to his friend in the footage. “I picked her up and had her dangling off the ground. It took me a half hour to kill her. I set a timer.” McAtasney explained all of the details callously, as Curry listened while humming to music.
“He told me he was going to meet up with Sarah, she had found this money,” Curry said in court. “They were going to count it together. He was going to choke her, choke her out. Bring her to the bridge, throw her off and Preston was going to drive the escape vehicle. And they were going to bury the money, and leave the keys in the ignition and make it look like she killed herself.”
The witness also stated that McAtasney expressed disappointment when he learned that he hadn’t gotten the full $100,000 he thought he would get.
McAtasney said in the video: ‘The worst part of it is I thought I was going to come out $50,000 to a $100,000 in my pocket. She had one safe that she took money out, and she only had $10,000. And this money, I don’t know if it was burnt or something, it’s f*****g old money. Terrible quality. I don’t even know if I can put any of it in the f*****g bank.’
Later in the video, the defendant claimed that it was still enough money to live comfortably on and throw ‘a lot’ of parties.
According to the defendant’s lawyer, Carlos Diaz-Cobo, he claims that his client was merely trying to impress his friend. Cobo stated that McAtasney had no part in the murder and used the disappearance of the money to take part in the story.
“The statement to Anthony Curry is not a confession,” Diaz-Cobo said. “It’s an elaborate lie, it’s an audition. It’s a script. It’s not true. … A young, immature boy decided he was going to use this unfortunate disappearance and make up this story.”
Accomplice To The Murder
The video also included how the defendant coerced their mutual friend Preston Taylor to help get rid of the body. Taylor had also been arrested alongside McAtasney as an accomplice. On the first day of the trial, Taylor admitted to his part in the murder and testified against McAtasney.
The footage concluded with McAtasney showing no remorse over his actions. “I don’t feel any different, I really don’t think about it,” McAtasney stated. “You always think you’re going to try all these new things and change, but it just doesn’t do anything. It’s weird.
“It’s a f****** movie, man,” Curry retorted.
McAtasney responded: “It’s your life. You might as well make it one. What are you going to live some boring a** life?”