Because of “aggravating factors” associated with the not guilty plea entered at a Monday morning arraignment by 19-year-old defendant Liam McAtasney in the Sarah Stern murder case, the state will now pursue a life sentence for the teen without parole, a released statement from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said.
The case background …
McAtasney was indicted last month on charges of: first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains, third-degree hindering apprehension and fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence.
McAtasney pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
McAtasney was charged on Feb. 2 in connection with the murder of Stern, who was last seen alive on Dec. 2, 2016.
In February, McAtasney was initially charged with all of the charges in the indictment.
In the investigation,detectives determined that McAtasney was responsible for killing Stern and stealing property from her on Dec. 2, 2016. The investigation also revealed that Preston Taylor, 19, provided assistance to McAtasney in moving and ultimately disposing of Stern’s body in order to avoid detection.
— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office