A prosecutor told a Philadelphia court on Tuesday that 22-year-old Temple University student Jenna Burleigh was murdered in 2017 for refusing a sexual favor from 30-year-old Joshua Hupperterz. The accused, then a 29-year-old former Temple student, mauled and strangled the victim in his apartment Aug. 31.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Grenell told the 12-member jury that Hupperterz met transfer student Burleigh at a bar, following which the two engaged in consensual sex. But the night turned fatal for the woman after she rebuffed the demand for anal sex.

"You’re going to watch and you’re going to see how her body was beaten and contorted, and how he tried to cover it up," he told the jury in a packed courtroom, filled with the victim's friends and family members, philly.com reported.

After committing the murder, Hupperterz sneaked the body out of his apartment and dumped it in his grandmother's house in Wayne County, Michigan, over 100 miles away. The corpse was retrieved later by the cops from a utility shed in the property, the website reported.

Defending Hupperterz, defense lawyer David Nenner said it was his client's friend Jack Miley who committed the murder and not the former. "Jack Miley is the one who came into the kitchen ... [and] put his hands on her neck. As she screamed loudly, he squeezed harder," he told the court.

Notwithstanding his defense, Hupperterz is the lone accused in the case. Miley, also a former Temple student, was expected to testify, but does face any charges so far.

The authorities too have said the accusation that Miley was the killer was a fabrication. Nenner said the victim had attacked his client with a knife, which was refuted by Grenell, who said even though Burleigh picked up a knife in her defense, she received several blows from her killer before she was strangulated. However, Nenner continued with his old argument and said it was Miley who ran from the basement upon hearing the scream and proceeded to kill the woman to prevent her from making noise. A report from the coroner in 2017 had corroborated Grenell's claim that the victim died from strangulation.

During the hearing, the accused pleaded guilty of transporting the corpse and meddling with the evidence. If convicted, he would face life in prison.

During the testimonies, a neighbor claimed to have heard a girl screaming at around 4 a.m. on the fateful night.. Temple graduate Noelle Sterling, who lived a floor above Hupperterz's apartment, told jurors she heard a woman screaming like in a horror movie.

"I could tell you it was like a woman screaming in a horror movie, but that wouldn’t do it justice," she said. She added that she dialed 911, following which the Temple police arrived but she was unsure as to where the noise came from.

Fellow university student and longtime friend of the victim, Davis Trinh, who was out with Burleigh when she met the accused, broke down at the court while reading his friend's texts.

Trinh said he received several distress messages from his now-deceased friend but was asleep. Upon waking up, he texted her to find out if she was alive, to which no replies ever came.