Social media and jury duty don’t mix.
A murder trial in New Jersey is in danger of being declared a mistrial, thanks to a female juror who couldn’t keep her mouth shut on social media.
The case surrounds, Liam McAtasney, a man accused of strangling Sarah Stern in 2016 and dumping her body off a bridge in order to steal her inheritance.
Now, years later, McAtasney is getting his time in court, though it may be short-lived.
During the trial, one juror took to Facebook and posted “Sitting on the jury LMAO,” in reference to an article related to the case.
According to the New York Post, the comment was reported to Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard English, who demanded the woman present herself before him.
Hauled in before the judge last Thursday, the woman claimed her teenage sister made the now-deleted comment. Not buying her excuse, the judge dismissed her from the jury.
Seeing an opportunity, McAtasney’s attorney requested to file a motion for a mistrial.
When the jury re-convened for the trial on Wednesday, five other jurors relayed that they were aware of her dismissal.
English ultimately granted McAtasney’s attorney his request, visibly angering the prosecutors.
The 2016 murder took place in Neptune City and revolved around $10,000, an inheritance left behind by Stern’s mother. The money was stored in a shoebox. At the time of the murder, McAtasney believed the amount was around $100,000.
“It’s the type of money that somebody would kill for,” McAtasney was reported to have said, according to murder co-conspirator Preston Taylor.
Taylor pled guilty in 2017 to several charges and faces between 10 to 20 years behind bars. He has since agreed to testify against McAtasney.
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