A United States Marine convicted of murdering a prostitute while in the Philippines on deployment has had his convictions affirmed in a regional court in Manilla, according to reports. Lance Corporal Joseph Pemberton was arrested and charged with the murder of Jennifer Laude in October of 2014 after her body was discovered in a motel room in northwestern Olongapo City. The murder exasperated already tight tensions among the United States and the Philippines.
Lance Corporal Pemberton said that he met Laude at a disco bar and brought her back to a motel room, and when he found out that she was transgender, he felt he needed to defend his dignity. However, Pemberton claimed it was never his intent to kill her at any point. The judge overseeing the trial, disputed Pemberton’s claims, saying the evidence found on the body of Laude was contradictory to the Marine’s statements.
During the proceeding of the case, it was found that in his decision, the Judge wrote:
“As proven by the prosecution, Pemberton did not leave Laude merely unconscious, but ensured his death by submerging his head inside the toilet bowl. Clearly, Pemberton intended the natural consequence of his wrongful act.”
On top of the 6-12 year sentence he received, Pemberton was also fined by the court to pay $98K to Jennifer Laude’s family for loss of income among other things.