US Marine found guilty of killing transgender woman in Philippines, sentenced to six to 12 years

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton has been found guilty of homicide in the death of a transgender woman in the Philippines on 11 October last year.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court

on Tuesday (1 December) sentenced the 20-year-old Massachusetts native to six to 12 years imprisonment.

He had faced a murder charge, which carries a 40-year sentence.

Pemberton was convicted of strangling 26-year-old Jennifer Laude, then drowning her in the toilet of a motel they had checked into after meeting at a bar in Olongapo, where he was stationed.

Pemberton admitted to choking Laude in August but claimed to have acted in self-defense.

He said Laude was performing oral sex on him when he reached down between her legs and felt a penis. He said he became angry because he felt that he was being raped by another ‘man.’

Pemberton was also ordered to pay the victim’s family P4.32 million ($91,571) in lost earnings, P155,250 ($3,291) in funeral expenses, P50,000 ($1,060) in moral damages and P30,000 ($636) in exemplary damages.