January 17, 2019
The man accused of strangling and beating a Temple University student to death in the summer of 2017 was found guilty of first-degree murder on Thursday afternoon, guaranteeing a mandatory state sentence of life in prison.
Jury deliberations took less than two hours to determine that 30-year-old Josh Hupperterz was responsible for the death of Jenna Burleigh, a junior film student who died of blunt force trauma after she was attacked at Hupperterz's apartment, NBC10 reported.
Prosecutors said Hupperterz and Burleigh met at Pub Webb, a popular bar in North Philadelphia, before returning to the apartment, where they initially had consensual sex together. Hupperterz became violent and fatally attacked Burleigh because she allegedly refused to have anal sex with him.
After Burleigh's death, Hupperterz disposed of the body by stuffing it in an oversized storage container and transporting it out of Philadelphia with the help of an unwitting cousin and a Lyft driver. Police eventually found the container, and Burleigh's body, at a lakefront property belonging to Hupperterz's grandparents in Hawley, about 140 miles north of Philadelphia.
Hupperterz had pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence, but his attorney attempted to argue that his roommate, Jack Miley, was the one who killed Burleigh.
Miley testified that he fell asleep during the attack and did not wake up or know of Burleigh's disappearance until police came looking for Hupperterz. He was never charged with a crime.
The trial, which began last week, included gruesome testimony and evidence from the investigation, including photographs of Burleigh's body and a presentation from Philadelphia's Chief Medical Examiner.
Burleigh's family gave victim impact statements at the trial, but Hupperterz refused to comment or testify at any point during the trial.