Charity football game honors slain woman; killer’s sentencing postponed

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Teachers from Neptune’s high and middle schools held a charity football game Tuesday in honor of slain former student Sarah Stern.

The game was held on the same day that a judge announced that sentencing for Stern’s killer Liam McAtasney would be delayed. McAtasney, a former friend and classmate of Stern, was to be sentenced Friday. But attorneys for the convicted killer have filed a motion asking for a new trial.

Stern’s father says that he is disappointed and hopes the sentencing happens sooner than later.

“Now it’s going to probably be a few weeks. We hope not longer. We just want this behind us,” says Michael Stern.

RELATED: Liam McAtasney found guilty of murdering childhood friend Sarah Stern 

Michael Stern says that he hopes that he and his family will not have to sit through a second trial.

"I knew a lot of the evidence but I hadn't seen or heard a lot of it. Some of it was very shocking and emotional and heartbreaking to hear how things happened,” he says.

Investigators say McAtasney strangled Stern in December 2016 in order to steal money that she has recently obtained. McAtasney and his roommate, Preston Taylor, threw Stern’s body off the Route 35 Bridge in Belmar into the Shark River below and staged it to look like she committed suicide. Stern’s body has never been found.

The football game held Wednesday evening was to raise money for a scholarship named in Stern’s honor.

"We want to remember her for who she was, not what happened to her,” says Neptune High School teacher JT Fryer. “This is a great way to talk about her and that kind of light and keep her memory alive."

This is the third year of the scholarship. It will go to a student pursuing an arts degree in college. Last year they were able to raise $1,200 in Stern’s name.

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