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Ms Whigham's body was found at about 9.45pm by her friends.
An Air Force instructor later recognised Hickerson in a police appeal over the killing and reported him to detectives, according to the WLOX news channel.
Hickerson could have faced the death penalty if he had been convicted of capital murder.
He will also have to serve 15 years for a robbery charge after taking Whigham's purse and mobile phone.Her supportive family accepted Jazz as a girl at a young age, but with her teenage years upon them, they're in for a whole new set of challenges.READ MORE #Visible Me, led by Raymond Braun is a photo series dedicated to giving a platform to LGBTQ youth to share their stories and connect with each other.A former sailor in the US Navy stabbed a woman 119 times when she revealed she was transgender after they had sex, a court heard.Dwanya Hickerson, 21, "lost it" after learning Dee Whigham, 25, had been born a man.