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A New Jersey man who was convicted of strangling a former high school classmate for throwing her body off a bridge wants a new trial because a juror who was dismissed for writing “LMAO” about the case on Facebook.
Liam McAtasney, 21, was convicted for the December 2016 murder of the 19-year-old Sarah Stern in Neptune City, N. J., as well as theft, violation of human remains, conspiracy to desecrate human remains and hindering apprehension.
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In February, McAtasney was found guilty. Jurors had asked to a secretly recorded conversation in which the 21-year-old spoke about Stern’s death.
Liam McAtasney, 21, was found guilty of the murder of Sarah Stern, whose body has never been found.
(Monmouth County Prosecutor/Facebook)
Plaintiff claimed he strangled Stern, then dumped her body from a bridge, the staging of the scene, making it look like she committed suicide. 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.
Shortly before McAtasney was found guilty in February, it was discovered that a jury member wrote a comment on Facebook about the fact that a part of the jury.
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“Sitting on the jury LMAO,” the 21-year-old member of the jury commented on a news article about the case, referring to “laughing my a– off.” The judge, who, as Emily Allen, claimed that it was her 15-year-old sister who posted the comment.
McAtasney condemnation — which was scheduled for May 24, was postponed due to his request for a new trial, according to the Asbury Park Press.
The lawyer for Liam McAtasney filed a motion for a new trial with the 21-year-old was found guilty of the murder of his childhood friend, Sarah Stern.
(Patti Sapone/NJ Advance Media via AP, Pool)
Carlos Diaz-Cobo, McAtasney’s lawyer, argued that the juror, defied the orders to stay off social media, and a mistrial should have been declared.
“To believe that this excused juror’s sister posted the comment that does justice to the reality,’ he wrote in the motion.
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After she allegedly posted the comment on Facebook, All allegedly contacted a fellow-member of the jury about the reason why she was removed from the trial — another reason Diaz-Cobo cites as a reason for a new trial.