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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A jury has found Joshua Hupperterz guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder, in the brutal death of 22-year-old Jenna Burleigh.
The jury deliberated for an hour-and-a-half before reaching a guilty verdict. Hupperterz was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Authorities say Burleigh was brutally punched, stabbed and strangled by the former Temple student, just hours after the two met at Pubb Webb in the early-morning hours of Aug. 31, 2017. Prosecutors believe she was killed inside Hupperterz’s North Philadelphia apartment after a fight broke out between the two during sex.
During closing arguments on Thursday, defense attorney David Nenner maintained Hupperterz did not kill Burleigh. Instead, the defense tried to sway the jury with reasonable doubt, saying it’s possible the suspect’s roommate is the real killer, but the roommate isn’t facing any charges.
Nenner told the jury the seven days of evidence and witness testimony laid out by prosecutors that point to Hupperterz as the killer is “pure speculation.”
“My client had consensual sex with Ms. Burleigh. That’s all the evidence shows,” said Nenner during closing arguments.
Nenner initially told the judge his closing statement would be about 45 minutes, but after an hour-and-a-half into it, a juror raised his hand, saying he needed to use the restroom. The judge then allowed for a break.
During the prosecution’s closing argument, assistant district attorney Jason Grenell showed a photo of Burleigh’s body stuffed inside of a plastic blue box.
“It is almost inconceivable,” said Grenell. “Thrown away, treated like trash … how could somebody do that?”
Before wrapping up his closing argument, Grenell said, “He thought he was going to get away with this.”
After the verdict was read, Burleigh’s parents said they see sadness in the eyes of their family everyday.
“We feel justice has been served for Jenna,” said Ed Burleigh.
Leaving the courtroom, the Hupperterz family said nothing, but a member of the family threw a coffee at a CBS3 photographer.
Hupperterz has 30 days to appeal the verdict.