PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The defense attorney for the man accused of killing a Temple University student in 2017 inside his North Philadelphia apartment is claiming the defendant’s roommate was the one who committed the murder.
Joshua Hupperterz is charged with the murder of 22-year-old Jenna Burleigh. Hupperterz’s attorney said during opening statements on Tuesday that it was the roommate who ended up killing Burleigh.
Investigators say Hupperterz, who is a former Temple student, killed Burleigh by punching, stabbing and strangling her.
Prosecutors allege the two met in August 2017 at Webbs Pub, near Temple, in the early-morning hours.
A fight allegedly broke out between the two after they had what was initially consensual sex, but prosecutors argue that it then turned non-consensual.
During today’s trial, the first person to take the stand was Burleigh’s longtime friend, Davis Trinh. He testified since Burleigh lived at home in Montgomery County, she made arrangements to stay at his apartment that night. But after Burleigh didn’t respond to text messages from Trinh asking where she was, Trinh went to sleep and later woke to a series of texts from Burleigh asking him to help her.
Investigators say after Burleigh was killed, Hupperterz took a Lyft car to his grandmother’s house in the Poconos and disposed of her body.
On Tuesday, Hupperterz pleaded guilty to abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence, but plead not guilty to murder and using an instrument of murder.
Leaving the courtroom, Burleigh’s parents said they hope justice is served.
“We appreciate all the support we have here from family and friends very early on in the process,” said Ed Burleigh.
“We just want to remember Jenna’s life. She was beautiful, she was wonderful, and we just want her life to continue,” said Jacqui Burleigh.
The trial is expected to last a week.