Prosecution junks Pemberton’s plea

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OLONGAPO CITY: The prosecution panel has found the motion filed by the lawyers of United States Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton seeking the reversal of his con-viction for the death of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, saying that there was no evidence of another killer.

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In a 12-page petition filed on Jan. 15, Olongapo City Prosecutor Emilie Fe delos Santos, also asked Regional Trial Court Branch 74 presiding judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde to deny Pemberton’s petition for bail.

The 20-year-old US Marine was convicted for homicide on December 1 last year, from the case of murder recommended by the prosecution for the death of Laude on October 11, 2014.

On Dec. 21, Pemberton’s lawyers asked the court to reverse its Dec. 1 decision and allow their client to post bail and reduce the jail term meted.

In their petition, they said the court ignored the evidence that could establish that another person may have killed the transgender.

The lawyers also manifested in the petition that the judge did not take into account the testimony of one of the defense witnesses, Dr. Raquel Fortun.

Fortun, a forensic expert, testified that Laude did not die from asphyxia caused by drowning on the night of Oct. 11 last year, hours after the transgender checked in with Pemberton at Celzone Lodge located along Magsaysay Avenue here.

They added their client deserved a lighter sentence citing his immediate surrender to authorities after the incident.

Pemberton and his Marine buddies from USS Peleliu were part of a joint Philippine-US military exercise when the killing occured.

Jabalde downgraded Pem-berton’s conviction to homicide because conditions such as cruelty and treachery, which are necessary to qualify the case as murder, were not proven by the prosecution during the trial.

The RTC Branch 74 clerk of court said there is no more hearing scheduled on the case and the judge will make a decision after defense lawyers have submitted their comment on the opinion of the prosecution.

 Patrick Roxas

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