Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, a U.S Marine, has been accused of a murder of a transgender woman that occurred in October.
Joseph Scott Pemberton is one of the 3.500 U.S Marines which participated in cooperative military exercises in the Philippines. The murder case of which he is accused has put some pressure on the relationship between this country and the United States.
Pemberton, 19 years old, is accused of strangling and drowning the woman, Jennifer Laude, in a toilet bowl, a case also referred as a “hate crime” by the prosecutors in Philippine.
Prosecutors have reasons to consider Pemberton as a prime suspect in the death of Jennifer Laude. Emily de los Santos, one of the prosecutors, said that this was an abuse of cruelty and superior strength.
Philippine National Police have evidence that Pemberton met with Jennifer Laude and Barbie, another transgender woman, at a disco bar in Olongapo City. After they left the disco, the three checked into a motel. Later that night Jennifer told Barbie that they have to leave the room before the man found out that they were transgender.
According to sources, the motel clerk found Jennifer Laude dead next to a toilet. The cause of death was apparently drowning. The motel clerk and the other woman, Barbie, pointed at Pemberton in a police lineup. Joseph Scott Pemberton was held in custody on a U.S Navy Ship which was docked off the coast but was moved into a detention camp after anti-American protests began.
Philippine does not grant bail for murder suspects, and Pemberton was not seen since he was charged according to Emily de los Santos.
Under an agreement between the United States and the Philippines, the suspect can be kept into U.S custody until he has been found guilty or not. The Philippine prosecutors can also ask the United States to turn over the custody of the suspect voluntarily but as of now it is not decided yet if the prosecutors will ask such a thing or how the United States will reply. It is said that an arrest warrant will be issued next week for Pemberton.
Charles Jose, spokesman of the foreign ministry, said that they look forward to working and fully cooperating with the United States government to ensure that justice will be served in regard of this matter.
The case of Joseph Scott Pemberton is similar to another case of a murder that occurred in Philippines and in which a U.S soldier was involved and found guilty of murder.
In 2005 Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was charged with the murder of a Filipino woman after he raped her. While he was doing this , there were three other soldiers that cheered and watched.
According to sources, Smith was found guilty and he received a life sentence in prison but he was transferred in the custody of the U.S Embassy in Manila. In 2009, the accuser revoked her complaint and his conviction was reversed. It is said that after she changed her story about the accusations brought against Daniel Smith, the United States offered her a visa and allowed her to move into the States. This matter caused some disturbance amidst many Filipino officials.
Image Source: CBS News