The Pennsylvania man accused of murdering a Temple University student has pleaded guilty to several of the charges against him — but continues to deny killing her.
The trial for Joshua Hupperterz, 30, commenced on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Hupperterz, according to CBS Philadelphia, entered guilty pleas for abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. He still contends he did nothing to harm Jenna Burleigh, 22, who was reported missing by her father on Sept. 1, 2017 — and that his roommate was the killer.
Philly.com reports that Assistant District Attorney Jason Grenell told jurors the evidence the prosecution plans to present at trial will prove what started as a consensual act quickly turned fatal when Burleigh refused to have anal sex with Hupperterz.
Prosecutors allege Hupperterz beat and strangled Burleigh, who died from the combined effects of strangulation and blunt trauma.
Not long into their investigation, Philadelphia police uncovered surveillance footage from Aug. 31 showing Burleigh leaving a pub abutting the Temple campus with Hupperterz, who is a former Temple student.
Under questioning by police, Hupperterz allegedly admitted to certain “elements of the crime,” Philadelphia Police Capt. John Ryan said at a news conference following his arrest.
Police have never implicated the roommate, according to NBC News, and have never pursued charges against him.
Hupperterz allegedly killed Burleigh in his Philadelphia apartment before stuffing her body into a plastic storage container. He then allegedly moved the body to his mother’s home before later transporting it to his grandmother’s residence in the Pocono Mountains, where it was eventually found by detectives.
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Police allegedly found blood evidence and large quantities of drugs inside Hupperterz’s residence.
Prosecutors said Tuesday Burleigh attempted to defend herself with a knife, but that Hupperterz allegedly snatched the weapon from her, stabbing her with before wrapping his hands around her neck.
If convicted, state mandate dictates he receive a sentence of life in prison.