US Marine Will Go On Trial In The Philippines For Killing Transgender Filipina
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Murder or homicide? That's the question facing prosecutors in the Philippines, as they prepare to try U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton in connection with the death of Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina found dead in a hotel bathroom on Oct. 11.
Time magazine reports Pemberton's attorneys have requested prosecutors try their client for homicide and not murder, because they say there is no “probable cause for murder."
Pemberton attorney Rowena Garcia Flores explained to ABS-CBNnews.com:
“In the event that it does declare probable cause, at the very least we ask that this be reduced to a charge of homicide considering the lack of circumstances qualifying the offense as murder."
The victim's family disagrees. An attorney for the Laude family released crime scene photos to the media to garner sympathy for the transgender Filipina they say suffered at the hand of her killer.
Laude's mother, Julita Laude spoke out at a press event about the death of her beloved Jennifer:
“It was brutal. My child suffered from such brutality."
Philippine media have reported that on the evening of Oct. 11, Laude checked into the Celzone Lodge hotel with a "foreigner" described as having a “white complexion, with marine-style cut of hair."
A witness saw Laude's companion leave the Celzone Lodge by himself "a few minutes" after he slipped into a hotel room with Laude:
Police said Elias Gallamos, one of the hotel’s room attendants, saw the suspect go out of the room, leaving the door ajar...
Police said Gallamos returned to the room at 11:45 p.m. and discovered Laude’s body, his head slumped in the toilet...
An autopsy conducted on Laude's body showed "asphyxiation by drowning" as the cause of death.
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