Convicted US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton paid the family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude P4,655,250 in civil damages after he withdrew his appeal on his conviction in the Supreme Court.
Pemberton’s counsel, lawyer Rowena Garcia-Flores, delivered the check to Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of the Regional Trial Court Branch 74. The payment was made under the name of Marilou Laude, Jenifer Laude’s sister.
The court ordered the convicted marine officer to pay P4.3 million for loss of earning capacity of Laude when he was sentenced to be imprisoned for six to 10 years for killing Jenifer.
He was also fined P30,000 for exemplary damages and P50,000 each for civil indemnity and moral damages.
Pemberton could slash as much as 4.5 years from his jail time if he could avail Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) benefits. This means he could walk free and return to the US either this year or in 2021.
He withdrew his petition for on his conviction filed in the Supreme Court, two months before the sixth death anniversary of Laude.
Pemberton pays Laude kin P4.6 million in civil damages
Pemberton, in a June 2 notice, filed an urgent motion for leave to withdraw his petition since he already “accepted” and “recognized” that the court’s conviction would become final and executory.
In 2017, the Court of Appeals rejected Pemberton’s claim of self-defense in killing Jennifer Laude in a hotel room in Olongapo City after they met in a bar in October 2014.
The killing sparked widespread anger across the Philippines and bolstered calls for an end to the US military presence in the country.
Pemberton had claimed Laude molested him in the motel room by pretending to be a woman, and he was forced to “defend his dignity.” He said the violence began when Laude slapped him after he confronted her for pretending to be a woman. However, he denied that he had any intention to kill her.
In the Court of Appeals decision handed down by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison, it was noted that physical evidence contradicted Pemberton’s claims.