This is absolutely awful!
On Tuesday, a Filipino court convicted Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton — a member of the U.S. Marines — of strangling and killing a Filipino transgender woman last year.
Pemberton was on break back in October 2014 after being involved in military exercises in the Philippines when he met Jennifer Laude at a disco bar in Olongapo City. The two found a hotel to check into and began to have sexual relations.
However, once Joseph discovered Jennifer was a transgender woman giving him oral sex, things turned violent.
The marine admitted in court to fighting with Laude but claims he acted in self-defense and did not kill her.
As a result of the homicide, Pemberton was sentenced to 6-12 years in jail — though he’s credited with time already spent in detention.
The military man was also ordered to pay 4.5 million pesos ($130,000) to Jennifer’s family due to loss of earning potential.
The Phillippine Star newspaper also reports that the convicted marine must pay for Laude’s wake and burial, as well as “moral damages” and “exemplary damages.”
Jennifer’s mother, Julita Cabillan told the press that she was happy about the verdict, but:
“No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child. What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn’t mean we can’t fight for justice.”
The victim’s sister, Malou, wasn’t as calm though as she claimed the verdict was:
“Not quite a victory. We expected a murder conviction but instead got homicide. We are not contented with the decision.”
Pemberton is expected to be held temporarily in the national penitentiary south of Manila until the Philippines and United States governments can come to an agreement on where he should serve his sentence.
The visiting forces agreement states that the Philippines can prosecute members of the American service, but ultimately the U.S. has custody over them “from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.”
[Image via Olongapo City Police.]