Jury selection begins in trial of man accused of killing childhood friend

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BELMAR -

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of a Monmouth County man accused of killing his childhood friend in order to obtain money she had inherited.

Liam McAtasney is accused of killing former high school classmate and friend Sarah Stern in December 2016. Prosecutors say that McAtasney strangled Stern during a robbery, threw her body into the Shark River and staged it to look like a suicide.

Search and rescue teams spent days searching for the 19-year-old Neptune woman, but never recovered her body.

RELATED: Jury selection expected to begin Tuesday in Sarah Stern murder trial 
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McAtasney’s friend and former roommate, Preston Taylor, admitted to helping McAtasney throw Stern’s remains off of the Route 35 Bridge.

Taylor pleaded guilty in 2017 to robbery, disturbing human remains, and hindering the apprehension of himself and McAtasney. He is expected to testify against McAtasney in this case.

Taylor and Stern were also high school friends. Taylor was Stern’s date to the junior prom.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

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