Monday, August 24, 2015
Bulletin: Joseph Scott Pemberton: Phillipines; U.S. Marine Testifies in Killing of Transgender Woman in Philippines; New York Times report; "A United States Marine accused of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines acknowledged on Monday that he had choked her until she was no longer moving, but he stopped short of saying that he had killed her, according to the prosecutor assigned to the case."
"A United States Marine accused of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines acknowledged on Monday that he had choked her until she was no longer moving, but he stopped short of saying that he had killed her, according to the prosecutor assigned to the case. The serviceman, Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, 20, was arrested in October in connection with the death of a 26-year-old Filipino, Jennifer Laude, whose name at birth was Jeffrey. Corporal Pemberton had met Ms. Laude in an Olongapo City nightclub while he was on liberty during military exercises, then accompanied her to a nearby hotel room, where she was later found dead. Corporal Pemberton, who has been charged with murder, testified during his trial on Monday. It was the first time that he had publicly provided his account of what took place in the room with Ms. Laude. He said that he brought Ms. Laude and another woman to the hotel, not knowing that they were transgender. He received oral sex from the women, he said, and one then left to buy condoms. Ms. Laude remained in the room, and he reached down to touch her vagina, he testified. “He said they began fighting when he discovered that she had a penis,” Emilie Fe Delos Santos, the prosecutor in the case, said by phone from Olongapo City, about 80 miles north of Manila. In his testimony, Corporal Pemberton said that he pushed Ms. Laude, she slapped him, he punched her, then he choked her with an arm lock until she was no longer moving. He also testified that Ms. Laude was still breathing but appeared to be unconscious after being put into the arm lock. He said he then brought her to the bathroom to try to revive her and left her slumped over the toilet. He said he then took a taxi back to his ship, where he told a fellow Marine, “I left her unconscious.” “Pemberton did not kill Laude,” Corporal Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena L. Garcia-Flores, wrote in an email on Monday. “He left Laude in the toilet alive.” Ms. Garcia-Flores said that Corporal Pemberton had no criminal record and had never been in a fight before his altercation with Ms. Laude. She said that he acted to defend his honor when he discovered that Ms. Laude had a penis but that other factors led to the altercation, including his fear of being “scammed.” “He was a victim of the fraud committed by a sex worker” who was older than him, she said in the email. “Pemberton testified, ‘I felt like I was raped by Laude,’ ” she wrote in a subsequent email. “He was repulsed, felt violated and angry; that he would not have agreed to have sex with him if he knew he was a man.”...If Corporal Pemberton is convicted of murder, he faces 40 years in prison, Mr. Roque said. If his lawyers can persuade the judge that there were complicating circumstances, like self-defense or deception regarding the victim’s gender, the court could lower the charge to homicide, which is punishable by 12 to 20 years. In the Philippines, there are no jury trials, and cases are decided by a judge."