Claiming he was molested, Pemberton seeks acquittal
OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines—Convicted US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton on Wednesday asked the Regional Trial Court (RTC) here to reconsider its homicide conviction and acquit him instead.
Lawyer Rowena Garcia-Flores, Pemberton’s lead counsel, said they also asked the court to allow her client to post bail.
Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of the RTC Branch 74 ruled on Dec. 1 that Pemberton was guilty of the lesser offense of homicide for the 2014 killing of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude. He was sentenced to a six to 12-year jail term which he would serve at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Laude’s sisters, however, want Pemberton to be jailed at the New Bilibib Prison in Muntinlupa City as earlier ordered by the judge. But Jabalde later revised her order and directed Pemberton’s detention at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Custodial Center.
In an 80-page omnibus motion, Pemberton’s lawyers asked for a “partial reconsideration” and clarification of the court’s decision, asserting that the cause of Laude’s death as established by trial evidence was “doubtful.”
They said Jabalde brushed aside evidence which established that another person killed Laude, including the testimony of defense witness, forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun, that Laude did not die of asphyxia by drowning on the night of Oct. 11 last year.
According to the court narrative, Pemberton at one point held Laude’s head in a choke hold.
“Since it is undisputed that Pemberton did not cause Laude’s death through strangulation, the only logical conclusion of this case is Pemberton’s acquittal,” the lawyers said.
Flores said Pemberton should be acquitted because the prosecution’s evidence showed there was a reasonable doubt that Pemberton killed Laude.
“At stake in this case are the life and liberty of a young man who succumbed to the invitation of two ‘women’ to engage in momentary sexual relations, and ended up being sexually molested and betrayed, and then wrongfully accused of killing one of them,” the lawyers said.
Pemberton was 19 years old when the court ordered his arrest on Dec. 16 last year.
Jabalde’s 60-page decision said Laude’s killing “only amounted to homicide” because the prosecution failed to establish that the American soldier used his superior strength and had employed treachery. She said Pemberton’s actions were provoked by his discovery that Laude was a man.
As this developed, Laude’s sisters yesterday asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the agreements between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the AFP regarding the detention of Pemberton in Camp Aguinaldo.
Laude’s sisters Marilou and Michelle, through their lawyer Harry Roque, filed the 34-page petition to strike down the agreement for allegedly violating the equal protection clause and for being an executive encroachment on the power and authority of the judicial department. With Jerome Aning
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.