Judge won't dismiss murder indictment in Sarah Stern case

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A Monmouth County judge has refused to dismiss a murder indictment brought against a man accused of strangling a female friend during a robbery and throwing her body off a bridge with another friend.

Liam McAtasney's attorney, Charles Moriarty, claimed Wednesday that his client made up stories about planning to rob and kill 19-year-old Sarah Stern as part of a horror film an acquaintance was making.

Moriarty told state Superior Court Judge Richard English that the acquaintance told detectives that McAtasney was "always making things up to be more interesting."

Moriarty also addressed evidence that he claims the grand jury never heard, including a witness who supposedly saw Stern alive.

“Sarah Stern’s body has never been found. One of the elements of the crime is that she has been killed, but someone has seen her at 5 a.m. in Bradley Beach walking down the street.”

Monmouth County prosecutors say the 20-year-old Neptune City man killed Stern on Dec. 2, 2016 during a robbery that netted $10,000.

McAtasney’s friend and roommate Preston Taylor has already admitted to helping to dispose of Stern’s body. He is expected to testify against McAtasney in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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