NJ Woman Strangles Girlfriend With Electrical Cord After Hitman Fails to Do His Job

A New Jersey woman has been sentenced to 75 years for murdering her girlfriend — and another 20 years on top of that for the failed attempt beforehand.

Jennifer Sweeney, 38, strangled 41-year-old Tyrita Julius to death with an electrical cord, after the hitman she’d paid to kill her did not get the job done, according to prosecutors.

On Thanksgiving Day of 2015, Julius was found slumped behind the wheel of her car, crashed into a utility pole near her Linden home, having been shot eight times. Her teenage daughter in the passenger seat had also been shot. Both survived.

Witnesses at the time said they saw a man approach the car, exchange words with the 15-year-old before pulling a gun and unloading it into the car; Julius tried to speed away but crashed.

Police spent months trying to track down the gunman; they were still investigating when in March of 2016, Julius’ mother reported her missing.

Her body would not be discovered until August 16 of that year; she was found buried beneath 3 feet of soil, wrapped in two garbage bags with an electrical cord around her neck, in the back yard of a home belonging to Andre Harris.

As part of a plea deal in exchange for a 16-year prison sentence, Harris confessed to being the hitman, hired by Sweeney.

He testified the two women had been lovers, and that Sweeney had killed Julius out of jealousy, believing she was cheating on her. He said Sweeney had helped him bury the body.

During a month-long trial in September of last year, Sweeney’s defense attorney insisted the two women were close friends, pointing out his client — a college educated Comcast account executive — had spent lots of time by the victim’s hospital bedside as she recovered from the shooting. The prosecution claimed this was a calculated move to throw investigators off the scent.

Sweeney was found guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, weapons offenses, desecration of human remains and tampering with evidence. On Friday a judge sentenced her to a total of 95 years behind bars.

“It is difficult to imagine a more heinous scheme of manipulation and cold-hearted depravity over four months than that orchestrated by Jennifer Sweeney,” Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman said, according to ABC7.

“This defendant’s actions were callous, calculated, and vicious, and ended the life of a woman beloved by her family and friends,” added Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said, per NJ.com.

“This sentencing is a fitting outcome to the prosecution of genuinely monstrous crimes.”

Defense attorney Robin Lord, who had unsuccessfully argued for a 30 year sentence, said Sweeney “loved the victim very much and maintains her innocence.”

Sweeney will not be eligible for parole until at least 85 percent of her sentence is served — by which time she will be 118 years old.

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