This story was updated at 1:56 p.m.
The parents of Jenna Burleigh, a junior film and media arts major who was murdered by former student Joshua Hupperterz in 2017, are suing Hupperterz and the bar Pub Webb, where the two met the night Burleigh was killed.
Hupperterz was sentenced to life in prison in January without parole for strangling and killing Burleigh on Aug. 31, 2017 in his apartment on 16th Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
The parents are suing Pub Webb for negligence, alleging that its employees served Burleigh and Hupperterz “excessive and unlawful amounts of alcohol for hours,” before Burleigh left the bar and went to Hupperterz apartment nearby.
Attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi and members of his team announced the civil lawsuit at their offices in Center City on Wednesday.
Hupperterz showed “obvious signs of visible intoxication” at Pub Webb, and a post-mortem toxicology report on Jenna Burleigh showed her Blood Alcohol Content was .283, the lawsuit states. In Pennsylvania, an adult is considered legally impaired and incapable of operating a vehicle if their BAC is .08.
The lawsuit also alleges that the bar violated the Dram Shop Rule, a law that holds a business selling alcohol or a person serving alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated liable to anyone injured by the intoxicated person.
This was a “substantial factor in causing Jenna Nicole Burleigh’s fatal injuries,” the lawsuit alleges.
“We don’t want to see this happening to any other family,” said Jacqueline Burleigh at the press conference. “We really want to protect our children, and our children aren’t being protected right now as these bars continue to serve them and not be mindful of the fact that, we as a people, need to take care of each other.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the bar continued to allow Hupperterz to be served while he was intoxicated because he sold marijuana to its management and staff. Police testified during the murder trial that they found several pillow case-sized bags of marijuana and $20,000 in cash in Hupperterz’s apartment following Burleigh’s murder, and several witnesses also testified that Hupperterz sold them marijuana.
The parents are suing Hupperterz for assault, battery, negligence and wrongful death, among other charges.
Burleigh was killed during her first week of classes and was first declared missing during the day on Aug. 31, 2017. Her body was later found in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, where Hupperterz transported and disposed of it.
Hupperterz appealed his conviction to Pennsylvania’s Superior Court and has until Nov. 18 to file an appellate brief.
The owners of Pub Webb declined to comment on the case.