Preston Taylor sentenced to 18 years for role in Sarah Stern's murder

Posted: Updated:
FREEHOLD -

A Monmouth County man will serve at least 13 years in prison for his admitted role in the murder of a former high school classmate.

Preston Taylor was sentenced to 18 years in prison Friday after he admitted to helping his friend and roommate Liam McAtasney dispose of the body of Sarah Stern – their friend since childhood.

Taylor pleaded guilty to his role in the crime as part of a plea deal and testified for the prosecution in McAtasney’s trial. Taylor admitted to helping McAtasney throw Stern’s body off the Route 35 Bridge in Belmar after McAtasney killed Stern in order to steal money she recently found. The two men left Stern’s car on the bridge to stage her disappearance to look like a suicide.

McAtasney was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

MORE: Sarah Stern killer Liam McAtasney sentenced to life in prison

Taylor spoke at his sentencing hearing and apologized to the Stern’s family.

“I should have known better and done something to stop this. I wish I had. I’m sorry,” he said.

But Stern’s father, Michael Stern, did not wish to hear Taylor’s words and walked out of the courtroom.

“I don’t want to hear anything from him. He had the opportunity – he had many opportunities…to stop it. He had the opportunity not to participate. There's nothing good there. It's evil, just evil,” said Michael Stern.

Taylor was to receive no more than 20 years in prison as part of the deal to testify against McAtasney. He received 18 with the possibility of parole in 13 years.

Michael Stern said that he wished the sentenced was longer.

“That’s part of the justice system, tough to deal with. It doesn’t bring Sarah back,” he said.

Michael Stern says that he is now focusing on setting up a scholarship in his daughter’s name to keep her memory alive.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."