THE Olongapo Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Monday, April 4, dismissed the petition for bail and motion for reconsideration of convicted US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for the death of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude. The dismissal, however, led the court to reduce his sentence from 12 to 10 years in prison.
“Wherefore in view of the foregoing, the Partial Motion for Reconsideration of the decision promulgated on 01 December 2015 and the Motion to be Admitted Bail pending motion for reconsideration are DENIED for lack of merit,” a portion of RTC Branch 74’s decision reads.
The murder occurred last October 11, 2014, when Laude met Pemberton, a US Marine from Boston, Massachusetts, at the Ambyanz disco bar in Olongapo. Thirty minutes after checking in at Celzone Lodge, Pemberton left the motel and the staff found Laude’s naked body near the toilet bowl. Autopsy revealed that “asphyxiation by drowning” was the cause of death.
Harry Roque, the private lawyer of Laude’s family stated, “we are happy that Pemberton’s Motion for Reconsideration was not fully granted, and we are happy that the decision remains – that Pemberton is guilty of killing Laude.”
Although the Laude family was relieved after the court denied Pemberton’s appeal, they did not welcome the reduction of his sentence.
“We are not pleased with the lighter penalty granted,” Roque said as he stressed that the penalty of six to 10 years still disqualifies Pemberton from seeking parole.
Judge Roline Jines-Jabalde of the Olongapo RTC Branch 74 said that Pemberton’s jail sentence should be lowered by two years due to mitigating circumstances of passion and intoxication, according to reports.
“The accused shall suffer six years to 10 years in prison with full credit for the period of his preventive imprisonment pursuant to Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code,” the ruling read.
The court originally ordered Pemberton’s detention at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City after a ruling on March 29, affirming the decision to convict him of homicide.