Pemberton Case: Philippines Deports U.S. Marine in Transgender Killing

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  • Bloomberg QuickTake News published this video item, entitled “Pemberton Case: Philippines Deports U.S. Marine in Transgender Killing” – below is their description.

    Joseph Scott Pemberton, U.S. marine convicted of killing a transgender woman named Jennifer Laude was deported Sunday after a pardon from the Philippines’ President Duterte cut short his detention in a case that renewed outrage over a pact governing American military presence in the Philippines. Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton said in a farewell message he was grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for pardoning him and expressed his sympathy to the family of Jennifer Laude, who he was convicted of killing in 2014 after finding out that she was a transgender woman in a motel northwest of Manila. Philippine immigration officers and American personnel escorted the 25-year-old Marine, who was in handcuffs and wearing a face mask, from his cell in the main military camp in metropolitan Manila to the airport, where he boarded a military aircraft. Duterte’s pardon was condemned by left-wing and LGBTQ groups. Debate has brewed whether the Marine, whose detention was arranged under the treaty allies’ Visiting Forces Agreement, can be covered by a Philippine law that grants shorter jail terms to ordinary prisoners for good conduct. The Regional Trial Court in Olongapo city, which handled Pemberton’s case, ruled that the law covers Pemberton and ordered authorities on September 1 to release him early for good conduct. But Laude’s family and the Department of Justice separately appealed, blocking his early release from a maximum prison term of up to 10 years. Duterte said he granted the pardon because Pemberton was not treated fairly after his early release, which he may have deserved, was blocked Pemberton, an anti-tank missile operator from New Bedford, Massachusetts, was one of thousands of American and Philippine military personnel who participated in joint exercises in the country in 2014. He and a few other Marines were on leave after the exercises and met Laude and her friends at a bar in Olongapo, a city known for its nightlife outside Subic Bay, a former U.S. Navy base. Laude was later found dead, her head slumped in a toilet bowl in a motel room, where witnesses said she and Pemberton had checked in. A witness told investigators that Pemberton said he choked Laude after discovering she was transgender. In December 2015, a judge convicted Pemberton of homicide, not the more serious charge of murder that Philippine prosecutors sought. The judge said at the time that factors such as cruelty and treachery had not been proven.

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