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Ex-Navy sailor gets 40 years for killing transgender woman

PASCAGOULA (AP) — A former Navy sailor has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the stabbing death of a transgender woman.

Local news media report 21-year-old Dwanya Hickerson pleaded guilty on Thursday to the murder of Dee Whigham in a St. Martin hotel room on July 23. Hickerson will also have to serve 15 years for a robbery charge.

Autopsy results show the 25-year-old Whigham was stabbed 119 times. Many of the wounds were to the victim’s face and her throat and slashed three times.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Leo Allen said surveillance video shows Hickerson and Whigham walking into a Best Western Hotel room together around 8:30 p.m. He says Hickerson was seen leaving the room alone about 23 minutes later, his shirt around his neck.