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The case of Commonwealth v. Joshua Hupperterz – The Temple News

The case of Commonwealth v. Joshua Hupperterz – The Temple News
DYLAN LONG / FILE PHOTO
David Nenner, the legal protection lawyer for Joshua Hupperterz, leaves the Juanita Kidd Stout Middle for Felony Justice on Jan. 7.

A yr and a half after her daughter was killed, Jaqui Burleigh continues to query why the tragedy occurred. Jenna Burleigh, a 22-year-old movie and media arts main, was murdered earlier than she had an opportunity to complete her first week of courses at Temple College in Fall 2017.

Jenna Burleigh’s household and pals should relive the horror of her lacking person-turned-homicide case through the homicide trial of Joshua Hupperterz, her accused killer. The 15-person jury for the trial, which started on Jan. eight, will possible ship a verdict by subsequent week.

“There’s going to be no justice because Jenna is dead,” Jaqui Burleigh informed The Temple News on the Juanita Kidd Stout Middle for Felony Justice on Monday. 

On some days, Jaqui Burleigh carries a stitched, maroon pillow into the courtroom as a small type of consolation throughout almost seven hours of witness testimony every day.

If convicted of first- or second-degree homicide, Hupperterz will face a life sentence. He pleaded responsible to expenses of abuse of a corpse and tampering with proof final week, however he denies he harmed Jenna Burleigh. 

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Courtroom of Widespread Pleas Decide Glenn Bronson moved the trial to a bigger courtroom to accommodate the rising quantity of Jenna Burleigh’s supporters in attendance. Her household and associates have remained quiet via testimony — typically crying and leaving the courtroom when Jenna Burleigh is talked about, or when pictures of her are proven.  

In reverse benches sit Hupperterz’s household, quiet and exchanging hushed phrases with one another, and David Nenner, Hupperterz’s protection lawyer, throughout recesses. 

The defendant sits quietly every day, sporting glasses and taking pages of notes on a authorized pad as his household and people who beloved the lady he’s accused of murdering take heed to how she was brutally crushed and strangled to dying.

Hupperterz has not agreed to take the stand and has maintained his innocence. On Monday, Bronson steered that Hupperterz ought to testify for the second time as a result of Nenner continues to attract conclusions that may solely be confirmed with Hupperterz’s private testimony.

In December 2018, he denied a third-degree homicide responsible plea deal for 30 to 60 years in jail. 

THE COMMONWEALTH’S CASE 

Assistant District Attorneys Jason Grenell and Danielle Burkavage are arguing the commonwealth’s case towards Hupperterz. Thus far, they’ve referred to as 20 witnesses in 5 days of testimony. 

In his opening assertion, Grenell detailed a violent wrestle between Hupperterz and Jenna Burleigh after she rejected anal intercourse in his off-campus house. Post-mortem outcomes revealed she died of strangulation and blunt drive trauma.

On the primary day of trial, prosecutors referred to as witnesses who noticed Jenna Burleigh and Hupperterz hours earlier than the killing. 

Davis Trinh, a senior enterprise and administration main who has recognized Jenna Burleigh for greater than 5 years, was together with her at Pub Webb, a bar on Cecil B. Moore Avenue close to 16th Road. Hupperterz and Jenna Burleigh met there on the night time of Aug. 30, 2017. 

Trinh left the bar earlier than Jenna Burleigh, and acquired a number of textual content messages from her between 1 and a couple of a.m. on Aug. 31, together with a message that learn “I’m needing help.”

“help,” she texted once more at 1:36 a.m. Three minutes later, she despatched her final textual content to Trinh — a message together with her telephone’s present location at Pub Webb. 

Video surveillance from the bar and close by companies present Jenna Burleigh and Hupperterz leaving collectively round 2 a.m. and strolling towards his condo on 16th Road close to Cecil B. Moore Avenue. 

Noelle Sterling, a biomedical science graduate scholar, lived within the house unit above Hupperterz on the time and made two 911 calls through the early morning hours of Aug. 31. 

Sterling referred to as the second time round four a.m. to report a lady’s uninterrupted screaming. Whereas on the telephone with a 911 dispatcher, Sterling informed her the screams abruptly stopped. Temple Police responded to each calls, however Sterling testified that they didn’t keep for greater than 5 minutes throughout both go to.

Officer Aaron Allen responded to each of Sterling’s calls, and knocked on Hupperterz’s house door round four a.m. He heard no sound inside, however stated if he did, he would have “kicked the door in.”

Later within the trial, TUPD and Philadelphia Cops and forensic analysts testified about their crime scene investigation. Blood with traces of Hupperterz’s DNA was discovered on a number of surfaces within the house, together with within the toilet, kitchen and bedrooms. Police discovered an extended strand of brown hair hooked up to a damaged ceramic bowl, an elastic hair tie and a telephone with a pink sparkly case. 

Jenna Burleigh’s DNA was recognized in a blood pattern taken from a pair of Air Jordan flip flops in Hupperterz’s basement, the one place her DNA appeared within the condominium.

Round 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 31, TUPD Police Captain Edward Woltemate first referred to as Hupperterz, whom he didn’t hear again from till six hours later. Hupperterz advised Woltemate he had “$200 worth of shots” the night time earlier than and knew nothing about Jenna Burleigh’s whereabouts. 

Jack Miley, Hupperterz’s former roommate and a senior kinesiology main, testified he woke as much as Hupperterz cleansing up blood within the condominium round 1 p.m. on Aug. 31. Miley additionally observed a reduce on Hupperterz’s hand. Hupperterz advised Miley he’d drunkenly woken up in a “pricker bush,” Miley testified.

Erik Carlsen, Hupperterz’s cousin, additionally testified he noticed Hupperterz cleansing blood in his condo on Aug. 31. After serving to Hupperterz put recent bandaging on his reduce hand, Carlsen testified he helped Hupperterz transfer a blue storage bin to Hupperterz’s mom’s house in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. 

On the drive out of the town in Carlsen’s automotive with the bin within the backseat, Carlsen stated the 2 have been singing alongside to the radio and deliberate a fishing journey. Burkavage introduced the bin by which Jenna Burleigh’s physique was discovered to the jury on Wednesday, and Carlsen confirmed he helped Hupperterz transfer the bin.

Hupperterz saved the bin at his mom’s property on Aug. 31, Robert Hagler testified. Hagler lives with and dates Hupperterz’s mom. Round 11 a.m. on Sept. 1, Avery Tucker, a Lyft driver, drove Hupperterz from North Philadelphia to Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, to retrieve the bin.  

Hagler started to cry as he described shifting the bin with Hupperterz from his storage to Tucker’s automotive. 

“I need to get the hell out of here,” he stated. 

 Tucker then drove Hupperterz to Northeastern Pennsylvania, the place police discovered Jenna Burleigh’s physique within the bin on Hupperterz’s grandmother’s property in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 2.  

Tucker testified Hupperterz fell asleep in his backseat with the bin sitting subsequent to him on the drive from Jenkintown to Wayne County.  

Carlsen, Tucker and Hagler all stated Hupperterz acted “normal” on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. 

DEFENSE’S CASE 

Whereas asserting his shopper’s innocence, Nenner claims the actual killer is Miley, Hupperterz’s former roommate.

In his opening argument, Nenner claimed Miley was woken up on Aug. 31, 2017, by a bodily struggle between Hupperterz and Jenna Burleigh, who allegedly attacked Hupperterz after he tried anal intercourse. Nenner stated Miley strangled Jenna Burleigh to dying in an effort to guard his roommate.  

“I never touched that woman,” Miley informed jurors when he took the stand final week.  

On Monday, Benjamin Levin, a forensic analyst for PPD, testified that Miley’s DNA was not recognized in any of the blood samples taken from his and Hupperterz’s condominium or on Jenna Burleigh’s physique, the place analysts discovered a number of matches to Hupperterz’s DNA.

Prosecutors additionally confirmed the jury the Pennsylvania State Police’s pictures of Burleigh’s physique contained in the blue bin. Her physique had bruises and marks alongside the neck, and her head was visibly bloody. State troopers additionally discovered a brown, heeled bootie, which seemed to be the complement to the shoe present in Miley’s bed room. 

Miley testified he and Hupperterz deliberate to “pick up some girls” on Aug. 30, 2017. The two drank at Maxi’s on Liacouras Stroll earlier than shifting to Pub Webb. Over the course of the night time, Miley testified he drank 12 to 15 beers and 6 photographs of liquor, smoked marijuana from an oil vapor pen and took one milligram of Alprazolam, or Xanax, an nervousness treatment. 

Miley maintains he left Pub Webb earlier than Hupperterz, which was confirmed by Halle Benson, a former Pub Webb bartender and 2017 sport and recreation administration alumna who was working on the bar the night time of Aug. 30 into the morning of Aug. 31.  

Hupperterz contacted Miley, asking him to open their house door after Miley left the bar in the course of the early hours of Aug. 31, based on Miley’s telephone data.  

IAN WALKER / THE TEMPLE NEWS
Illustration based mostly on proof introduced in courtroom proceedings on Jan. 10.

“Cuzcuz I’m k ockingthedokrdonn [sic],” Hupperterz wrote at 1:05 a.m. “we’re the fuck u at gota get I. The house [sic].”  

Miley testified he fell asleep at house till about 1 p.m. on Aug. 31. Prosecutors argued Miley is understood for lengthy, uninterrupted durations of sleep, each when sober and intoxicated. 

After hiring an lawyer in early September 2017, Miley didn’t present police with a written assertion till Dec. eight, 2017 — about three months after he was first questioned. 

When Woltemate contacted Miley on Sept. 1, he was visiting household in Level Lookout, New York, for Labor Day Weekend. Telephone data present Miley requested day off from his job for the weekend on Aug. 28. 

Miley informed Woltemate he had been with Hupperterz on Aug. 30 and didn’t know something about Jenna Burleigh’s whereabouts. Telephone data present Miley referred to as Hupperterz a number of occasions on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, which Miley stated have been makes an attempt to push Hupperterz to get in contact with regulation enforcement.  

His former roommate was “feeding him lies,” Miley testified. Hupperterz advised Miley he was in North Carolina when different witnesses noticed him at his grandmother’s property, the place Jenna Burleigh’s physique was discovered.  

“I honestly don’t know what to expect from this guy at this point,” Miley texted a good friend about Hupperterz after studying his then-roommate was the final one seen with Jenna Burleigh.  

Testimony about DNA present in Hupperterz’s house and on Jenna Burleigh’s physique will proceed on Tuesday.