FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The prosecution’s key witness was back on the stand Thursday in the second day of the Sarah Stern murder trial.
Preston Taylor was accused of lying to police before reaching a deal to lighten his sentence.
Tears flowed from the eyes of accused killer Liam McAtasney within eyesight of the jury as he watched former acquaintances – now witnesses – testify against him.
Taylor, McAtasney’s alleged co-conspirator, was accused of being a liar by the defense attorney.
“You don’t always tell the truth, is that correct,” attorney Carlos Diaz-Cobo asked Taylor.
“I haven’t in the past,” Taylor said.
The defense strategy for McAtasney is to discredit the prosecution’s star witness, highlighting the plea deal he took to rat on his alleged accomplice and made up stories in the past.
“You made an accusation against somebody that you were sexually assaulted by that person, later on you were asked why you lied, you stated that you panicked and didn’t know what to say so I made it up,” Diaz-Cobo said.
“Not those words exactly,” Taylor said.
McAtasney is charged with murdering his childhood friend Sarah Stern for money left to her by her deceased mother.
The last known video of Stern alive shows her withdrawing money from the bank.
Taylor testified McAtasney strangled stern, then the two of them moved the 19-year-old’s body out of her home in Neptune and dumped her off the Route 35 bridge in Belmar.
Another witness: A friend and neighbor who says she saw Stern with McAtasney the day she disappeared. Stern was giving away some of her belongings.
Carly Drappe testified Stern said she planned to move in with McAtasney in Canada and had $20,000 in her Avon home.
A cousin testified that Stern was happy-go-lucky the day she went missing. Her body has not been found, and no evidence has been presented that she ran away.
Taylor will receive a 10-20 year prison sentence for his cooperation. He could’ve faced at least 50 years if he didn’t cooperate.