FREEHOLD — A Tinton Falls woman convicted of strangling her girlfriend to death after a failed shooting attempt months prior will not be eligible for parole until she is over 100 years old.

Jennifer Sweeney, 38, has received a combined 95-year sentence in state prison for the killing of 41-year-old Tyrita Julius. She must serve 85 percent of that time under the state's No Early Release Act.

The first attempted killing was in Union County in November 2015. Julius was driving with her teenage daughter when a barrage of gunfire passed through their vehicle.

Linden police arrived at the scene on Middlesex Street to find the vehicle had crashed into a utility pole near Julius's home. She had been shot eight times, while her daughter had been shot once.

Tyrita Julius (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)
Tyrita Julius (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)
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Somehow, they both survived the shooting. But only a few months later, Julius's family would again fear the worst.

On March 9, 2016, her mother reported to police that Julius was missing. She said that Julius had been spending time with a friend in Tinton Falls.

Months later, investigators connected the shooting to Julius's disappearance.

They found her body on August 16, 2016, in the backyard of a home belonging to Long Branch resident Andre Harris. Julius had been wrapped in two garbage bags with the electrical cord used to strangle her still around her neck.

First court appearance for Andre Harris
First court appearance for Andre Harris (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press POOL)
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Prosecutors then charged Harris and Sweeney with conspiring to kill Julius.

Harris pleaded guilty to carrying out the Nov. 2015 shooting and received a 16-year prison sentence. He testified against Sweeney at her trial last year.

Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey called Sweeney's sentence fitting for her "genuinely monstrous crimes."

"This defendant’s actions were callous, calculated, and vicious, and ended the life of a woman beloved by her family and friends," Linskey said.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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