Pemberton’s mom says her son kind, ‘God-fearing’ man
OLONGAPO CITY- Carrying 22 letters from relatives and close friends, the mother of US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton said her son is a kind man, who has gays among his circle of friends, when she testified at the resumption of her son’s murder trial on Monday.
Lisa Pemberton, a nurse, was presented by the defense lawyers as their first witness, and their primary character witness, who was cross-examined by the prosecution for two hours, said lawyer Harry Roque Jr., lead counsel for the family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.
Laude was found dead in a motel room here on Oct. 11 last year. Witnesses identified Pemberton as the foreigner who left the room before Laude’s body was discovered by a motel employee.
Lisa, 44, submitted 22 letters, each vouching for her son’s character. Half of the set of letters came from relatives while others were from Pemberton’s friends.
Lisa told the court these letters were “solicited” by her son’s lawyers.
Laude’s mother, Julita, described Lisa’s demeanor in court as emotional, saying the soldier’s mother was close to tears during her testimony.
She said among Lisa’s assertions was Pemberton would not kill a transgender because he has gay friends and is God-fearing.
Roque confirmed Julita’s statement, adding that Lisa also told the court that Pemberton has a sister who is “openly lesbian.”
“I believe she was crying because she couldn’t accept that her son could kill someone,” Julita said.
“[Pemberton’s] mother said she taught Pemberton how to read the Bible when he was growing up and that he was kindhearted,” she added.
Lisa also testified that she separated from her husband, prompting Pemberton to take care of his two siblings, she said.
“So why did Pemberton change? That’s what I want to ask his mother,” Julita told the INQUIRER.
“As we expected, Pemberton’s mother testified that her son is kindhearted and that she couldn’t believe all the accusations against him,” Roque told reporters after the hearing.
“She (Lisa) did not provide evidence that Pemberton did not commit murder. She only said that she couldn’t believe that Pemberton would do such a merciless killing of Jennifer,” Roque said.
Julita said she believed Pemberton’s mother knew her son murdered Laude but was still suffering some form of “disbelief.”
“Any mother can say that her child is kind. So why Pemberton, despite being kind as claimed by her mother, would kill someone?” Julita asked.
The murder complaint against Pemberton was filed in the regional trial court here in December last year. The court registered a “not guilty” plea for Pemberton after he refused to enter a plea during his arraignment in February.
The prosecution completed its presentation of evidence, composed of more than 300 objects and documentary evidence, and 28 witnesses, in June. It submitted its formal offer of evidence to the court last month.
The trial’s resumption, initially scheduled for Aug. 3, had been delayed for two weeks due to motions that the court needed to resolve.
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