CA upholds Pemberton’s 10-year prison sentence
The Court of Appeals has shut the door on US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton’s attempt to overturn the 10-year jail sentence meted out to him by an Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for killing transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.
Besides upholding with finality the guilty verdict, the appellate court’s former Special 16th Division sustained its order directing the US serviceman to indemnify the victim’s family of P4.32 million.
It said the arguments that Pemberton, who is being held at a special facility in Camp Aguinaldo, raised in his appeal were just a repeat of the points he had previously presented in his earlier petition.
“The bits of evidence, pieced together, point to Pemberton as the killer of Laude … Pemberton’s criminal liability for homicide stands,” the court said in a resolution on Aug. 15.
“With respect to Pemberton’s motion, we maintain our ruling that his invocation of self-defense is an admission of the killing and of its authorship,” it said.
The 12-page ruling was written by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison with Associate Justices Ramon Cruz and Henri Jean Paul Inting concurring.
They affirmed their April 3 decision that sustained the guilty verdict meted out by Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of Olongapo RTC Branch 74 on the American serviceman in 2015.
In its previous decision, the appellate court said Pemberton killed Laude in October 2014 “for the puerile reason” that Laude “pretended to be a woman.”
The court said the rules on evidence “make no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence of circumstances from which the existence of a fact may be inferred.”
Pemberton’s claim that he was “only raising complete and incomplete self-defense” to justify the killing of Laude was “bereft of rhyme or reason as [he] was not charged for any physical injuries but of homicide,” the court said.
Actually, it said invoking “self-defense, like alibi, is a defense [that] can easily be concocted as it is in this case.”
“Consequently, we reiterate that self-defense, when invoked as a justifying circumstance, implied the admission by the accused that he committed the criminal act,” the court ruled. “Indeed, a plea of self-defense cannot be justifiably appreciated where it is not only uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence, but also extremely doubtful by itself.”
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