Joseph Pemberton: Marine convicted of killing Filipino transgender woman

Joseph Pemberton: Marine convicted of killing Filipino transgender woman

US Marine Joseph Pemberton was jailed for 12 years by a Philippine court after being found guilty of killing a transgender woman.

A Philippines court convicted Lance Corporal Joseph Pemberton of the homicide of Jennifer Laude, who he strangled and drowned in a toilet bowl in October last year.

The anti-tank missile operator said he had acted in self-defence after discovering she had male genitals.

He had met 26-year-old Ms Laude in a disco bar at a red light district in Olongapo, a city northwest of Manila.

Pemberton, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was on a break after participating in joint military exercises in the country.

The Philippines court also ordered Pemberton to pay Ms Laude’s family 4.6m pesos ($98,000) in damages.

Ms Laude’s mother, Julita, said she had hoped Pemberton would be found guilty of murder, which carries a heavier penalty.

“But the important thing is he will be jailed,” she said tearfully. “My son’s life is not wasted.”

Pemberton had earlier admitted in court to choking, but not killing, Ms Laude, who at least two witnesses testified was a sex worker.

Hotel staff said the Marine had left about half an hour after checking in, leaving the room door ajar.

The court said that “in the heat of passion, he arm-locked the deceased, and dunked his (her) head in the toilet”.

Pemberton said Ms Laude was still alive when he left her in a shower.

But lawyers for the victim’s family said she was dead when the drunken Marine walked out.

Two US Marines testified that Pemberton had told them: “I think I killed a he/she.”

The killing reignited calls by left-wing groups and nationalists in the Philippines for an end to the US military presence in the country.

Dozens of protesters celebrated after the verdict was announced near the court by burning an effigy of Uncle Sam and shouting “Justice for Jennifer!”

The judge ruled the American would be held temporarily at the national penitentiary until the two countries decide where he should serve his sentence.

Ms Laude’s fiance, German national Marc Sueselbeck, had been planning to marry her in Thailand.

He was placed on a Philippines blacklist after trespassing on a military facility in a bid to confront Pemberton.

Sportact Editors and Wire Services