Transgender Teen Accused Of Grisly Murder

A transgender teenager has pleaded guilty to murdering a 12-year-old child in Pennsylvania. The killing took place in a trailer park in Bensalem in November 2022, when 18-year-old Joshua Cooper, who identified as female, sat watching Netflix with the young Morgan Connors.

Court documents reveal that Cooper took his father’s gun when the younger child went to the bathroom. The details of what followed are unclear, but the death came to light when an acquaintance received a video call via Instagram and saw the body of the 12-year-old in the background. Cooper asked the acquaintance to help dispose of the body, prompting him to tell his mother what had happened.

Police arrived soon afterward to find the young Morgan Connors’ body on the floor with her pants around her legs, dead from a gunshot wound. Cooper told officers the shooting was an accident, but prosecutors charged the 18-year-old with third-degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime, and tampering with or fabricating evidence. Judge Jeffrey Finley later sentenced Joshua Cooper to a prison term of 15 to 40 years.

The judge furthermore ordered that the teenage killer undergo psychological and psychiatric evaluation. Despite the defendant’s claim that the killing was accidental, testimony from the acquaintance revealed that Cooper bragged about the murder and attempted to escape the site. Police testified that “substantial steps were taken to clean up the crime scene.”

Cooper’s attorneys confirmed that he is in the process of undergoing gender reassignment and requested that he be referred to as Ash and with she/her pronouns.

The convicted killer will move from Bucks County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was held without bail from arrest to trial, and serve his sentence at a Pennsylvania state prison. A seven-year probation period will apply after the teenager’s release.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Kristin McElroy read an impact statement from the victim’s grandfather to the court, which stated, “The human heart is not built for such heartbreak.”