A Pennsylvania teen is charged with criminal homicide after allegedly confessing to killing someone and showing the victim’s dead body to another teen he reached via Instagram video chat.
According to a law enforcement press release, the Bensalem Police Department received a 911 call at 4:11 p.m. on Friday about a “possible homicide.”
“The caller stated that her daughter received an Instagram video chat from a 16-year-old acquaintance,” the police continued. “During the video chat, the 16-year-old stated that he had just killed someone. He then flipped the video image and showed the legs and feet of someone covered in blood.”
The 16-year-old in question was later identified as Joshua “Ash” Cooper of Gibson Road in Bensalem, the police said.
Cooper, after allegedly showing the girl video of his victim, asked for help with disposing the body, according to the authorities.
Armed with information about the video chat from the girl and her mother, the police went to Cooper’s home. When officers arrived, “a juvenile male ran out of the back of the trailer,” police said.
The responding officers entered the home and found a juvenile female dead from a gunshot wound on the bathroom floor, the police press release continued.
“There were also indications that substantial steps were taken to clean up the crime scene,” the police went on.
Other responding officers caught the defendant near Newport Mews Drive (no, that’s not a typographical error) and Groton Drive a short distance from his home. His arrest time is listed as 4:41 p.m. — exactly half an hour after the initial call.
Besides criminal homicide, Cooper, who is charged as an adult, faces two other counts: possessing instruments of crime and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
A district justice denied bail for Cooper during an arraignment. Cooper is currently in the Edison Juvenile Detention Center in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the police said.
The name of the victim has not been released. However, citing court documents, the Bucks County Courier Times reported Friday that the victim was a 13-year-old girl. Law enforcement authorities told the newspaper that the victim is not a Bensalem resident and is not related to Cooper.
William McVey, Bensalem’s Director of Public Safety, told the Courier Times that the victim was shot once in the chest and that any possible motive for the shooting was not currently known.
“The gun was found inside the mobile home, and police are investigating who owned the weapon and how Cooper had access to it,” the newspaper noted.
A probable cause affidavit obtained from local court files by the Courier Times contained a few nuggets of detail from police discussions with the defendant.
“It was an accident,” Cooper allegedly said to the police, according to the newspaper’s account of the document.
Cooper also allegedly apologized to the police and said he would be “going to jail for the rest of [his] life.”
He also allegedly told the police the gun in question had been in a safe and that his “dad is going to kill [him].”
Again citing court paperwork, the newspaper said Cooper and his mother were interviewed once Cooper was in custody. During that interview, Cooper reportedly and allegedly said that he removed “firearms” from his father’s safe while cleaning it. He then started sorting out ammunition.
He reportedly claimed to have gotten into the safe by “replacing the batteries his father had removed, which had made the combination lock inoperable,” the newspaper said, again citing the affidavit.
The chain of events from there on out is not fully known or understood. According to the newspaper’s retelling of various court documents, the victim apparently “texted Cooper and was dropped off at his home when he was done reorganizing the safe and firearms.”
The two allegedly watched Netflix together, but the victim “[a]t some point . . . left Cooper’s room to go to the bathroom,” the newspaper said in its retelling of the material.
Precisely what happened next isn’t known because the defendant’s mother terminated the police interview, the newspaper said.
Bensalem is in extreme eastern Pennsylvania between Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey.
Police are asking for tips about the incident. Those with information can call Detective Ryan Kolb at (215) 633-3746 or Detective Shawn Smith at (215) 633-3687. Tips are also accepted online.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]