“I honestly don’t know what to expect from this guy at this point,” Jack Miley texted a friend in early September 2017, about his roommate Joshua Hupperterz.
Miley, a senior kinesiology major, had just learned that his roommate was the last one seen with Temple University junior Jenna Burleigh, who was reported missing. Burleigh’s body was later found at Hupperterz’s grandmother’s property in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.
Hupperterz’s defense attorney David Nenner points to Miley as the one who brutally beat and strangled Burleigh. Nenner argued in his opening statement for Hupperterz’s murder trial on Tuesday that Miley heard a physical fight between Hupperterz and Burleigh, came upstairs to the first floor of the roommates’ apartment and killed her.
Thursday is the third day of Hupperterz’s murder trial in Burleigh’s 2017 death.
Miley stood before jurors and Court of Common Pleas Judge Glenn Bronson on Thursday. He testified he was asleep until 1 p.m. on Aug. 31, after a night of heavy drinking and drug use with Hupperterz.
Hupperterz’s trial is now in a larger courtroom, as Bronson decided to move locations on Wednesday to accommodate the number of attendees present in support of Burleigh.
Burleigh’s friends and family filled a side of the courtroom. The benches were full and the supporters chatting loudly at times. On the other side of the courtroom, a few members of Hupperterz’s family sat quietly.
In his testimony, Miley said he and Hupperterz planned to “pick up some girls” during the first week of Fall semester classes and went to Pub Webb after having drinks at Maxi’s. Over the course of the night, Miley testified he drank 12 to 15 beers and six shots of liquor, smoked marijuana from an oil vapor pen and took one milligram of Alprazolam, or Xanax, an anxiety medication.
Video from Pub Webb, a bar on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 16th, shows Miley leaving by himself around 1 a.m. Hupperterz and Burleigh returned to the roommates’ 16th Street apartment about an hour later after Miley, streetview video shows.
The next day, Miley walked upstairs after waking up and found Hupperterz cleaning up blood from their kitchen counter and floor, he said.
Miley noticed a deep cut on Hupperterz’s hand when he spoke to him on Aug. 31. When he asked Hupperterz where it came from, the defendant told Miley he was drunk and woke up with the cuts in a “pricker bush.”
The next day, Sept. 1, Miley pressed Hupperterz about Burleigh. Law enforcement — Temple Police, PPD and the FBI — told Miley to call Hupperterz, and Miley fully cooperated with their direction, he said. Miley said Hupperterz changed his story about his gashed hand, telling Miley he had cut it on a ceramic bowl. He also told Miley he was in North Carolina.
Miley was not in Philadelphia from late Aug. 31 until the morning of Sept. 2, but visiting family for Labor Day Weekend in Point Lookout, New York. Phone records show that Miley requested time off for the weekend from his job on Aug. 28.
There was no evidence of blood in Miley’s bedroom, a Philadelphia Police officer testified. Police did find a brown, heeled bootie found in his bedroom closet.
Prosecutors said Miley is known by his friends and siblings for sleeping soundly, both when sober and intoxicated, including on the night Burleigh was killed.
Miley testified that he had a history of passing out during parties on his brother’s couch at Penn State Abington, and not waking up until late in the afternoon the next day. Nenner objected to presenting the jury with accounts of Miley’s sleeping habits, but Bronson overruled, contending that the habits are a physical, not a character description.
Miley also said he did not know who Burleigh was until he was notified by police that she was missing. Burkavage showed Miley and the jury Burleigh’s identification card photo in court on Thursday. Burleigh’s family audibly cried when her image, long-haired and smiling, was displayed.
“I thought they were going to find the girl to be honest,” Miley said, explaining why he didn’t return to Philadelphia from New York after being contacted by investigators.
Miley testified he decided to come back and give a statement to law enforcement after he had talked with a lawyer, and when Burleigh’s body was discovered at Hupperterz’s grandmother’s property.
Records showed Miley’s communications with Hupperterz. The two exchanged several phone calls, sometimes not connecting with each other. Hupperterz texted Miley the night Burleigh was allegedly killed, before he and Burleigh left Pub Webb to ask Miley to open their apartment door.
“Cuzcuz I’m k ockingthedokrdonn [sic],” Hupperterz wrote at 1:05 a.m. “we’re the fuck u at gota get I. The house [sic].”
Miley will be cross-examined by Nenner on Friday.