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Bucks teen pleads guilty to killing girl, 12; gets state prison


A Bensalem teen who killed a 12-year-old girl in November 2022 entered a guilty plea Thursday, to third-degree murder and related charges and received a sentence of 15 to 40 years in state prison.

Ash Cooper, who previously went by Joshua Cooper, also pleaded guilty to possession of an instrument of crime and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Police arrested Cooper the day of the murder of Morgan Connors, after learning Cooper had contacted an acquaintance via video chat, claiming to have just killed someone, and asking for assistance cleaning up the crime scene and disposing of the body.

Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced Cooper to 15 to 40 years in state prison and a consecutive sentence of seven years of probation.

Additionally, Cooper, now 18, was ordered to follow all the rules and recommendations of adult probation and parole and undergo psychological and psychiatric evaluations.

During sentencing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kristin M. McElroy read an impact statement from the victim’s grandfather who described the “intense pain and heartbreak” of losing his granddaughter. “The human heart is not built for such heartbreak,” the letter read.

It was 4:11 p.m., on Nov. 25, 2022, when the Bensalem Township Police Department received a 911 call about a possible homicide at the Top of the Ridge Trailer Park, located at 1446 Gibson Road. From the call, investigators learned that a juvenile witness was on an Instagram video chat with an acquaintance, later identified as Cooper, who claimed to have just killed someone.

In the video chat, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said, Cooper flipped the video image and showed the legs and feet of someone covered in blood. Cooper then asked the acquaintance for help cleaning up the scene and disposing of the body.

Police went to the Gibson Road property and, as officers arrived, spotted a juvenile running out of the back of the trailer. Officers entered the residence and observed the body of a girl, later identified as Connors, on the floor of the bathroom with an apparent gunshot wound. There were also indications that substantial steps were taken to clean up the crime scene.

Police set up a perimeter around the trailer park and a short time later spotted and took Cooper into custody. The investigation revealed that Cooper used a firearm from his father’s gun safe in the home to shoot the victim. Cooper was able to get into the safe by replacing the batteries a parent had removed to make the combination lock inoperable.

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