The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the conviction of Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for killing Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in October 2014.
In a 48-page decision, the CA Special 16th Division junked for lack of merit Pemberton’s appeal seeking the dismissal of the ruling of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 convicting him for homicide.
Pemberton had claimed that he killed Laude in self-defense. But the appellate court, through Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison, said Pemberton’s alibi was “more imaginary than real.”
“The only reason why he attacked Laude was that he was furious at him for pretending to be a woman, nothing more, nothing less,” it said.
“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. Self-defense, like alibi, is a defense which can easily be concocted as it is in this case. We thus find Pemberton’s defense of an impending grave danger more imaginary than real. In the absence of unlawful aggression, even the privileged mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense which Pemberton also invokes cannot be appreciated in his favor.
With the above disquisition, the conviction of Pemberton for homicide is undeniable,” the court added.
It affirmed the lower court’s decision sentencing the US Marine to 6 to 10 years imprisonment.
The CA increased the moral and civil damages from P50,000 to P75,000.The lower court also ordered Pemberton to pay P4,320,000 in damages for loss of earning capacity; P155,250 in reimbursement for the wake, burial, and other related expenses and P30,000 in exemplary damages.