Sailor pleads not guilty in transgender woman's death

A Navy sailor from New Orleans has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of stabbing and slashing a transgender woman 119 times in a coastal Mississippi hotel room.

Twenty-year-old Dwanya Porche Hickerson is charged with the capital murder of 25-year-old Dee Whigham of Shubuta, a nurse at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. He's being held without bond.

The Sun Herald ( ) and WLOX-TV ( ) report that Hickerson entered the plea Thursday in state court in Pascagoula. He was in a training class at Keesler Air Force Base when Whigham was killed July 23 in St. Martin.

Whigham was visiting with friends, who found her body in their hotel room shower.

Investigators identified Hickerson as a suspect after releasing surveillance video of a man leaving the room with his shirt around his neck.