A New Jersey jury has new information to consider after being shown a video of a man confessing to strangling his childhood friend on Thursday.
As NJ reports, the secretly-filmed discussion shows Liam McAtasney, 21, detailing how he murdered his childhood friend Sarah Stern. McAtasney was confiding in his friend Anthony Curry, as the two rode in Curry’s car in Bradley Beach on Jan. 31, 2017.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) February 7, 2019
In the video, McAtasney said:
I pretty much hung her. I picked her up and had her dangling off the ground. It took me a half hour to kill her. I set a timer.”
According to NJ, the victim’s family began crying and holding each other tight as the video played in court.
During the video, McAtasney even revealed how he and his admitted accomplice, Preston Taylor, got rid of Stern’s body.
Curry was also brought to tears by the video.
The 21-year-old went to high school with both McAtasney and Taylor. He became involved with the murder case after his father told a retired Bradley Beach police officer that his son had information about Stern’s disappearance.
Curry testified that on Thanksgiving night in 2016, McAtasney talked to him about his plan to strangle Stern and steal her money. He said he didn’t think much about it at first until he read about Stern’s disappearance. Her car was found abandoned on Dec. 3, 2016.
He told me he was going to meet up with Sarah, she had found this money. 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 burry the money, and leave the keys in the ignition and make it look like she killed herself.”
As NJ reports, McAtasney was with Stern in her family’s second home in Avon-by-the-Sea when she found a shoebox full of cash left by her deceased mother.
According to Curry, McAtasney thought he was going to get around $100,000, but ended up with less.
In the video, McAtasney said:
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****** old money. Terrible quality. I don’t even know if I can put any of it in the f***** bank.”
While he didn’t get all he’d hoped, McAtasney said he got enough to live comfortably and party.
In January of 2017, Curry also provided police with snapchat messages he recorded of McAtasney asking Curry if police had questioned him.
During the court appearance, Curry said he agreed to work with investigators and testify in the trial because he’s “doing the right thing.”
— News12NJ (@News12NJ) February 7, 2017
On the first day of the trial, Taylor also testified against McAtasney. He admitted to helping McAtasney dump Stern’s body in the Shark River when no cars were around. Stern’s corpse has never been found.
Carlos Diaz-Cobo, McAtasney’s attorney, has countered his client’s confession tape by saying he made up the entire story to impress Curry.
“The statement to Anthony Curry is not a confession. 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.”
According to NJ, Curry acknowledged during cross-examination that his friend had made things up to him in the past.