NATIONAL NEWS

Man charged with killing, dismembering transgender teen he met through dating app

Jul 9, 2024, 9:03 AM

A Pennsylvania man accused of killing and dismembering a transgender teenager he met through a dating app has been charged with murder and related counts.

DaShawn Watkins, 29, of Sharon, was arraigned earlier this month and is being held without bail at the Mercer County Jail. He was represented at the hearing by the county public defender’s office, according to court documents, but that office declined to comment on the case Tuesday or whether it was still representing Watkins, noting it doesn’t discuss pending cases.

Watkins is charged in the death of Pauly Likens, 14, of Sharon, a transgender girl who was last seen June 22 and was reported missing three days later by relatives. That same day, police recovered dismembered human remains in and around the waters of Shenango River Lake, and more remains were found in the area over the next week.

The Mercer County Coroner’s Office determined Likens — who would have turned 15 on Saturday — died from sharp force trauma to the head before being dismembered. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Watkins was charged with murder, aggravated assault, evidence tampering and abuse of corpse. Prosecutors said they also plan to seek hate crime charges, but those have not yet been filed.

Watkins told police he had arranged a meeting on June 22 with someone he communicated with through the dating app Grindr. Surveillance footage, social media records and cellphone records found that Likens appeared to be on the phone and waiting to meet someone near the lake’s canoe launch area that evening, county prosecutors said.

Authorities said the footage also captured Watkins making several trips out of his apartment in the early morning hours of June 23, carrying multiple bags and driving to his apartment in a vehicle that was seen near the lake.

Likens’ relatives said the teen was a prankster who aspired to be a park ranger.

“I just want to say what a beautiful, loving person she was and that the hate has got to stop!!” Likens’ mother, Jen McClure, told Pennlive.

National News

Janet Jarrett shows a photo of her sister, Pamela Jarrett, she keeps on her phone at the home they ...

Associated Press

Heat-related Texas deaths climb after Beryl left millions without power for days or longer

SPRING, Texas (AP) — As the temperature soared in the Houston-area home Janet Jarrett shared with her sister after losing electricity in Hurricane Beryl, she did everything she could to keep her 64-year-old sibling cool. But on their fourth day without power, she awoke to hear Pamela Jarrett, who used a wheelchair and relied on […]

57 minutes ago

Melissa Shepard, left, directing attorney of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, explains the Biden adm...

Associated Press

Behind Biden’s asylum halt: Migrants must say if they fear deportation, not wait to be asked

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Posters inside a complex of giant, white tents tell migrants in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Hindi they should tell an officer if they fear being deported and “your claim will be heard.” On a side wall where migrants are seated in a processing area, a video conveys the same message on […]

2 hours ago

FILE - People walk past the Fiserv Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Thursday...

Associated Press

With GOP convention over, Milwaukee weighs the benefits of hosting political rivals

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Downtown Milwaukee turned red last week as thousands of Republican National Convention delegates and other party stalwarts gathered in Wisconsin’s largest Democratic stronghold to formally rally behind Donald Trump as their candidate for president in the pivotal swing state. Outside the security zone where the convention took place, residents grumbled, ignored or […]

2 hours ago

A second-floor balcony at the Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida, on Wednesday, July 17, ...

Associated Press

Ernest Hemingway fans celebrate the author’s 125th birthday in his beloved Key West

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Ernest Hemingway spent the 1930s in Key West, Florida, and more than six decades after his death, fans, scholars and relatives continue to congregate on the island city to celebrate the author’s award-winning novels and adventure-filled life. Hemingway Days started in 1981 with a short-story competition and a look-alike contest. […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Salt Lake City wildfire prompts mandatory evacuations as more than 100 firefighters fight blaze

Salt Lake City officials have ordered residents to evacuate some areas ahead of a wildfire as more than 100 firefighters work to contain the blaze. Helicopters and airplanes were dropping buckets over the flames Saturday as ground crews tried to contain the fire on Ensign Peak. The first fire crew was dispatched around 4:30 p.m. […]

2 hours ago

Democratic Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi speaks at the North Carolina Democratic Unity Dinner fundra...

Associated Press

Pelosi delivers speech to NC Democrats with notable absence — Biden’s future as nominee

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In a state expected to help decide the presidency, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi did little to quell speculation on President Joe Biden’s path forward as the Democratic nominee to a room full of North Carolina Democrats on Saturday. Pelosi addressed more than 900 people at the North Carolina Democratic Party […]

4 hours ago

Man charged with killing, dismembering transgender teen he met through dating app