Philadelphia

Jury Seated, Opening Arguments Set in Murder Trial for Man Accused of Killing, Hiding Body of Temple University Student

Josh Hupperterz is suspected of killing Jenna Burleigh after meeting her at a bar popular with Temple students

What to Know

  • Hupperterz turned down a plea offer in December. If convicted by a jury, he could face up to life in prison.
  • Jenna Burleigh disappeared in 2017 after leaving a bar near Temple's campus in North Philadelphia.
  • The suspect's father, Octavio Hupperterz, was murdered in 1993. He was shot in the back of the head and his body was dumped in Springfield.

Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday morning in the trial of a man accused of killing, then hiding the body of a Temple University student in 2017.

A jury was selected Monday for suspect Josh Hupperterz's trial in Philadelphia. The 29-year-old is accused of killing Jenna Burleigh in the late summer of 2017.

Hupperterz turned down a plea offer in December from the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, which had offered 30-to-60 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea. An attorney for Hupperterz has said his client claims he didn't harm Jenna Burleigh, who disappeared Aug. 31, 2017, after leaving a bar in North Philadelphia.

Prosecutors claim Hupperterz and Burleigh met at the bar about a week into the fall semester. The two then allegedly went back to his apartment on North 16th Street near Temple's campus. Burleigh was never seen alive again.

Hupperterz allegedly stuffed her body into a blue plastic storage bin and moved it to his mother’s home in Jenkintown, authorities said in September that year. Sources told NBC10 at the time that the 29-year-old then used a Lyft ride-hailing car to transport the remains to his grandmother’s home in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

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Hupperterz's grandfather allegedly found Burleigh's body one day after a Philadelphia police detective and FBI agent visited the property.

Police documents have revealed new details on the murder of Temple University student Jenna Burleigh. The documents reveal that the suspect’s grandfather was the one who found her body inside a tote in the shed of his estranged wife’s home. 

Hupperterz could face up to life in prison if convicted at trial. He is charged with murder, abusing a corpse, possessing an instrument of crime and tampering with evidence.

"He's saying he didn't cause any harm to the girl and that's what he indicated to me," Hupperterz's counsel, David S. Nenner, said last year. "What happened that night — I'm not [at liberty] to talk."

Initial accounts by investigators of Burleigh's death alleged a grisly murder and coverup that are eerily similar to circumstances surrounding Hupperterz's father's murder 24 years earlier.

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The body of Octavio Hupperterz was found wrapped in a trash bag outside of a business in the Wyndmoor section of Springfield Township, Montgomery County, in 1993. Josh Hupperterz was 4 at the time.

Octavio died from a bullet to the back of the head, his hands tied behind his back and shoved into a garbage bag when he was found.

Sources had told NBC10 in 2017 that investigators believed the elder Hupperterz, who lived in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, was killed at another location and his body dumped in Montgomery County.

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