Share story

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without possibility of parole Thursday in the slaying of a 22-year-old Temple University student.

Jurors convicted Joshua Hupperterz of first-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime in the death of Jenna Burleigh. He earlier pleaded guilty to evidence-tampering and abuse of a corpse.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Hupperterz, 30, showed no reaction at the reading of the verdict, which came after the panel deliberated for less than 1½ hours.

Common Pleas Judge Glenn Bronson, who called the murder “outrageous and depraved and terrible,” later sentenced him to the mandatory term of life without possibility of parole on the murder and an additional 4½ to nine years on the other three counts.

Prosecutors said Hupperterz killed Burleigh in his Philadelphia apartment in August 2017, moved her body to his mother’s suburban home in a plastic storage container, and later took the remains to his grandmother’s home in the Poconos, where they were found.

Defense attorney David Nenner suggested another man was responsible. But prosecutors said DNA evidence and the defendant’s actions following the slaying pointed to him as the killer.

Before the sentence was imposed, Burleigh’s parents, older sister and her friends gave emotional statements about the impact of her death.

“Jenna was a loving, caring, compassionate, sassy, passionate person who was unapologetically herself,” said her mother, Jacqueline Burleigh. “All she wanted was peace in this world.”