The US Marine jailed for killing a trans woman in Subic is taking his fight for freedom the the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
Last week the Court of Appeals (CA) threw out Joseph Scott Pemberton’s bid to scrap his conviction for killing transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in 2014.
“We will elevate the resolution to the Supreme Court,” said Pemberton’s counsel, Rowena Garcia-Flores, in a text message today (Monday, August 21).
Garcia-Flores, however, admitted they have yet to receive a copy of the August 15 resolution of the Court of Appeals that upheld a previous decision to uphold the ten-year sentence.
The CA had also ordered Pemberton to pay Laude’s heirs 4.32 million pesos in lost earnings, as well Laude’s autopsy, wake and burial expenses.
In junking his appeal, the CA said Pemberton only rehashed the arguments he had previously presented such as self defence.
“Pemberton’s contention that he was only raising complete and incomplete self-defence in the physical injuries he inflicted upon Jeffrey Serdoncillo y Laude alias ‘Jennifer’ is bereft of rhyme or reason as the former was not charged for any physical injuries but of homicide,” stated the resolution penned by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison.
“Consequently, we reiterate that self-defence when invoked as a justifying circumstance implied the admission by the accused that he committed the criminal act,” it added.
Pemberton’s allegation that he was slapped by Laude could not be corroborated by any medical findings and that his running from the crime scene was a sign of guilt, according to the CA.
“The bits of evidence, pieced together, point to Pemberton as the killer of Laude, Ostensibly, our rules make no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence of circumstances from which the existence of a fact may be inferred. Pemberton’s criminal liability for homicide stands,” the CA said.
A lawyer for the Laude family welcomed the CA ruling.
“As counsel for the Laude family, we would have liked to have Pemberton sentenced to the maximum 12 years as we feel passion and intoxication do not mitigate the deliberate and brutal act of Jennifer’s murder.
“Nonetheless, we are happy that the decision remains: that Pemberton is in fact guilty of killing Jennifer,” said Kabayan party-list Representative Harry Roque in a statement.
Congressman Roque also said that the fact the US Marine continues to appeal his conviction “just shows that he has no remorse in what he has done”.
“He should not be entitled to any benefit or liberties; he cannot be cited for good behaviour when he has not been remorseful,” the lawmaker said.
Laude, then 26 years old, was last seen alive in Pemberton’s company.
The two agreed to have sex but the American went berserk after discovering that his partner was not biologically female.
Laude was found dead, with her head inside a toilet bowl, in the bathroom of a Celzone Lodge room on October 11, 2014.
Pemberton is serving his sentence at a restricted facility in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
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