Neighbors Heard 'Terrifying' Screams Night of Student's Murder

Temple graduate student Jenna Burleigh's murder in August shocked neighbors, who say they heard screaming. One neighbor described it as being like a "horror movie."

On Wednesday, 10 witnesses testified in Joshua Hupperterz's preliminary hearing in the death of the 22-year-old student. Police say Burleigh was killed in Huperterz's North Philadelphia apartment in the early morning hours of Aug. 31, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The witnesses offered new, chilling details of the murder, including the sounds they heard that morning.

Noelle Sterling, who lived in the apartment above Huperterz at the time, said she woke up at 2:15 a.m., hearing banging and footsteps in the backyard of the apartment complex. She called Temple police, who checked in with her, but left.

She told the court she called her mother 15 minutes later and heard more noises, including a dog barking. At about 4 a.m., screaming began.

"I don't think I got to sleep before the screaming started," she said, adding that there were "no words, just screams."

"It sounded terrifying, almost like if you were in a horror movie and a girl screamed, but it was worse," Sterling said.

Sterling said the screams finally stopped after three minutes. She called Temple police who spoke with her again, but left.

Erik Carlsen, Hupperterz's cousin, told the court he went to Hupperterz's apartment and saw him "cleaning up blood" in the living room. The defendant asked Carlsen to help him move a storage bin that felt like it weighed 100 pounds, Carlsen said. Hupperterz told him it had clothes inside. They drive it to Jenkintown, where Hupperterz's mother lives.

On Sept. 1, Hupperterz took the bin to the Pononos, where Burleigh's body was found the next day. Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Benjamin Clark said Burleigh's naked body was found in the bin.

Two days later, the Inquirer reported that the Wayne County coroner determined that Burleigh died from blunt trauma and strangulation.

Hupperterz will be tried on murder, possession of an instrument of crime and abuse of a corpse.

Burleigh lived in Harleysville, Pensylvania and commuted to Temple. She met Hupperterz at a pub a week after her classes began. They left the bar together near closing time on Aug. 31.

"I think we all became much better people from knowing her," a high school friend, Shauna Duggan, told the Inquirer.


CBS News reports that Hupperterz will be back in court next month.

Photo credit: Philadelphia Police Department