Biological male killed 12-year-old girl who he had alleged sexual relationship with, transitioned to transgender after arrest

A biological male from Pennsylvania confessed to killing a 12-year-old girl who he allegedly had a sexual relationship with. However, after the male was arrested, the suspect transitioned to a transgender individual.

Ash Cooper, a transgender individual who previously went by the name of Joshua Cooper before being arrested, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence on Thursday. The judge sentenced the 18-year-old Cooper to 15 to 40 years in prison.

Cooper, who was 16 at the time of the murder, admitted to killing 12-year-old Morgan Connors at a trailer park in Bensalem Township on Nov. 25, 2022.

However, Cooper allegedly showed a female friend the bloody body of the deceased 12-year-old girl on an Instagram video chat. Cooper then attempted to convince the friend to help dispose of Morgan’s body, according to court documents.

The friend allegedly informed her mother, who then contacted the police.

When law enforcement arrived at the crime scene, they saw a teen “running out of the back of the trailer.”

The Bucks County Courier Times reported, “Inside the home police found the body of a girl with her pants around her ankles on the bathroom floor. It appeared she had been shot, police said. The officers also saw towels drenched in blood, cleaning supplies, and the strong odor of bleach.”

“Officers entered the residence and observed a deceased juvenile female, later identified as Connors, on the floor of the bathroom with an apparent gunshot wound,” the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office stated.

Morgan’s cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the neck and upper chest area.

Police noticed that there was an attempt to clean up the gruesome murder scene.

“There were also indications that substantial steps were taken to clean up the crime scene,” police said.

Cooper later admitted to using the father’s gun to shoot Connors, which had been stored in a safe.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Cooper told police that the murder “was an accident … ‘[he’s] sorry’ and that he’s ‘going to jail for the rest of his life.'”

WPVI-TV reported, “The affidavit also states that during an interview with Cooper’s mother and police, Cooper claimed at one time he was in a sexual relationship with the victim.”

The Daily Mail reported, “During the investigation, officials discovered Cooper was accused of sexual assault in a previous unrelated case. She was found guilty in juvenile court.”

Cooper was initially charged as Joshua Cooper, but began transitioning to a transgender individual after the arrest. During the trial, Cooper’s lawyer asked the court to identify Joshua as Ash.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Kristin M. McElroy read a statement from Connors’ grandfather during the sentencing that stated: “The human heart is not built for such heartbreak.”

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