A New Jersey man convicted of his childhood pal’s murder says he deserves a new trial because of a dismissed juror’s “LMAO” post on Facebook about the case.
Though the juror was booted before deliberations, Liam McAtasney’s lawyers said the woman’s misconduct tainted the trial in February at Monmouth County Superior courthouse, the Asbury Park Press reported.
McAtasney, 21, was found guilty of robbing and strangling friend Sarah Stern in 2016 then tossing her from a bridge to steal her inheritance.
During the trial, a tipster supplied a two-page copy of the offending juror Emily Allens’s post on Facebook — which reportedly said “I’m on this trial lmao” in response to an article about Stern’s murder.
The juror’s Facebook friends then flooded the post with one saying, ““Emily Allen please do my friend justice. Sick of waiting!!’’
The person who flagged the post to the court also commented. “What’s funny about that? And aren’t you not suppose to disclose if you’re a juror on the case? Poor Sarah, and even more unfortunate for her family,’’ the tipster wrote.
Allen told the judge that her 15-year-old sister made the comment on her page, but she was excused from the case anyway.
In a new motion, McAtasney’s lawyers said they don’t buy Allen’s excuse and claim she repeatedly violated orders to stay off social media.
“To believe that this excused juror’s sister posted the comment belies reality,” the defense team wrote, according to the Asbury Park Press.
She allegedly then contacted another juror about why she was removed from the case.
McAtasney’s lawyers cited the Facebook post and conversations in the motion for a new trial, which is scheduled to be heard May 24.
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