Dismissed juror knew Lyft driver who unknowingly drove alleged murderer, victim's body

Kristen Johanson
January 09, 2019 - 3:18 pm
From left: Jenna Burleigh, Joshua Hupperterz

Philadelphia Police Department

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UPDATED: 7.42 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Nearly a dozen witnesses have testified so far in the trial of the man accused of murdering a Temple University student 1 1/2 years ago, and one alternate juror was dismissed for knowing one of the witnesses.  

Dressed in a gray suit, 30-year-old Joshua Hupperterz jotted down notes through the proceedings, including that of his step-cousin who helped the defendant move a blue storage container from his apartment and bring it to the suspect's mother's house in Jenkintown - but said he didn't know what was inside. 

Jenna Burleigh, 22, was found beaten, stabbed and strangled inside that blue storage bin, prosecutors say, on the Poconos property of Hupperterz's grandmother. 

RELATED: Trial continues for man accused of murdering Temple student

A Lyft driver told jurors he was working a normal day when he got a request from the defendant, who asked if he could pay in cash instead of using the phone app that would have tracked them.  

The driver agreed, and took him from his apartment in North Philadelphia to Jenkintown, where they picked up the blue container, and then drove to the Poconos. 

One juror, an alternate, informed the court he knew the driver from a previous job. The judge had to dismiss him and replace him with another. 

A captain with Temple police testified that after learning that Hupperterz was the last person seen with Burleigh, Hupperterz dodged their calls, and lied to them about where he was. 

When the blue box was brought out for the witnesses to identify, Burleigh's family and friends began to weep. 

A crime scene officer began her testimony about pictures and blood splatter they found inside Hupperterz's apartment, and will continue on the stand in the morning. 

The defense has contended it was Hupperterz's roommate who killed Burleigh, not the defendant.