MONMOUTH COUNTY, N.J. (TCD) -- A 38-year-old woman will spend the rest of her life in prison for ordering a hit on her girlfriend, then strangling the victim and burying her in the backyard when the first attempt did not work.
A Monmouth County jury convicted Jennifer Sweeney in September on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree desecration of human remains, fourth-degree tampering with evidence, and three weapons-related offenses for the 2016 death of her girlfriend, Tyrita Julius. On May 7, a judge sentenced her to 95 years in prison. According to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, she must serve 85% of her 75-year sentence for murder and 20-year term for the weapons charges.
Sweeney will not be eligible for parole until she is over 100 years old.
On Nov. 24, 2015, at 7:16 p.m., Linden Police Department officers were called to the 900 block of Middlesex Street for a shooting call. Officers located Julius in her car and saw she was suffering from eight gunshot wounds. Her daughter, who was in the passenger seat, was also shot. Both Julius and her daughter survived the shooting.
Months later, on March 9, 2016, Julius' mother reported her missing to the Long Branch Police Department and the Linden Police Department. The Prosecutor’s Office said Julius' mother told police Julius had been with a woman in Tinton Falls and was supposed to come home March 8 on a train from the Long Branch station but never arrived.
Detectives from several law enforcement agencies began looking into Julius' disappearance. On Aug. 16, 2016, detectives identified Andre Harris as the suspect shooter and searched his home. While there, they found Julius' body "wrapped in two garbage bags with an electrical cord around her neck."
Both Sweeney and Harris were arrested and charged. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Harris agreed to testify against Sweeney in her trial as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison and must serve 85% of that before becoming eligible for parole.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Sweeney killed Julius because Julius had started to grow apart from Sweeney. Sweeney reportedly strangled Julius after the failed shooting attempt because Julius turned her down.