US Marine Pemberton Found Guilty Of Homicide Of Filipino Transgender Woman

After almost two years of politicking and hearings, an Olangapo court in the Philippines has found US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton guilty of the homicide of Filipino trans woman, Jennife Laude. Laude, was found dead in the bathroom of a motel in October 2014. Autopsies reveal that Laude had died due to ‘asphyxiation due to drowning’ and ‘strangulation.

After a thorough investigation, police uncovered that US Marine Pemberton was in the country as a participant of the US- Philippines joint military exercises in Subic. Pemberton testified that during his rest and recreation day, he had gone shopping and bar-hopping before settling in at the Ambyanz Bar in Olangapo City. There, he had met two individuals who introduced themselves as ‘Barbie’ and ‘Jennifer’ who invited him to check- in to a nearby motel called the ‘Celzone Lodge’ for sex.

‘Jennifer,’ referred to in the case as ‘Jennifer Laude’ is a known sex worker who partners up with a friend to perform sexual acts on their clients. After agreeing that each of the ‘ladies’ would be paid Php1,000 ($21), ‘Barbie’ proceeded to perform oral sex on the marine, and left immediately after. It was then Laude’s turn to engage in oral sex with Pemberton. When Pemberton asked for more, it was only then that he realized that Laude was a man. The revelation both shocked and angered the marine who said that he immediately shoved Laude out of the bed.

CCTV Footage showing Laude and Pemberton at the motel.

CCTV Footage showing Laude and Pemberton at the motel.

Pemberton then says that Laude slapped him, and that in self-defense, Pemberton then placed Laude in a choke-hold. After Laude lost consciousness, Pemberton dragged her to the washroom in an attempt to revive her by splashing water onto her face. The tap water and shower, however, were not working, so he decided to leave Laude.

Pemberton’s lawyer say that the reason their client did not ask the motel staff for help was because he had thought that they were all involved in a scheme that deceived clients into having sex with transgender individuals.

Despite the conviction, Pemberton maintains that he had acted in self-defense.

Pemberton, who was detained in a US facility in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, will continue to stay in said facility until the go-signal is given for him to be  transferred to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City – a facility that was mutually agreed upon by US and PH officials.

Furthermore, reports say that Pemberton is to ‘pay the heirs of Laude the following: P50,000 ($1,060) in civil indemnity; P4.32 ($91,620) million damages for loss of earning capacity; P155,250 as reimbursement for wake, burial and other funeral expenses; P50,000 in moral damages; and P30,000 ($636) in exemplary damages.’

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About the author

Raisa Tan is the Managing Editor of the Morning Ledger and is also a Radio DJ for Mellow 94.7. Connect with her on Facebook.com/raisa947 and on Twitter and Instagram @raisa_tan