Prosecution’s last witness vs Pemberton takes stand
OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines—Government prosecutors on Tuesday concluded their presentation of evidence in the trial of US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton after their final witness, an American forensic expert, took the stand.
Richard Bush, of the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a forensic consultant, presented to the court the photographs he took of Celzone Lodge, the crime scene, according to lawyer Harry Roque Jr., lead counsel for the victim’s family.
Slain transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and a foreigner checked into Celzone Lodge on Magsaysay Drive here on the night of Oct. 11, last year. Her body was found by a motel employee after her companion, whom witnesses had identified as Pemberton, had left their room.
“Bush used high-tech programs to take 360-degree [angle] photos of Celzone Lodge. These photos were presented in court,” Roque told reporters.
Bush presented panoramic shots of Room 1 which Laude and her companion had rented, its bathroom—where Laude’s body was found slumped over the toilet—and the motel lobby, he said.
Bush also presented 84 other photographs of Celzone Lodge that he took.
“We are now turning [our attention] to the Supreme Court, since we have pending petitions in relation to Pemberton’s custody and media coverage of the trial,” Roque said.
In April, Laude’s family asked the Supreme Court to reverse two orders issued by Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74.
Jabalde had denied the Laude family’s request to have Pemberton transferred from a facility managed by the Americans inside Camp Aguinaldo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Quezon City, to a jail in this city.
Jabalde had also barred reporters from the trial.
Details of the proceedings are provided by the lawyers of the Laude family, who would brief reporters during breaks. Pemberton’s lawyers have declined requests for interviews.
Deputy City Prosecutor Misael Ladaga said the prosecution presented “overwhelming and incriminating evidence” against Pemberton during the course of the trial which began in March.
“We presented 28 witnesses and over 300 object and documentary pieces of evidence. All the testimonies were important for the prosecution panel,” Ladaga said in a news briefing after the trial.
“We are very satisfied and confident we can successfully have a conviction in this case,” he added.
Lawyer Virgie Suarez, co-counsel for the Laude family, said Laude’s body “tells the whole story of how she was murdered.”
“The pathological reports on the remains of Jennifer summed up all our evidence against Pemberton,” she said.
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