A US Marine who was convicted in the Philippines for the death of a transgender woman in 2015 paid the family of the victim about US$96,000 for “civil damages.”
Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton made the payment this week after he withdrew the appeal of his conviction in the country’s Supreme Court.
The American serviceman was found guilty of homicide in the death of transgender woman Jennifer Laude in a motel in Olongapo City on Oct. 11, 2014.
The American serviceman was ordered to pay 4.3 million pesos (about US$89,000) for the loss of earning capacity of the victim and other fees.
Pemberton should have been released from prison on July 31 after serving more than half of 10 years of his sentence “with good behavior.”
Lawyer Rowena Garcia-Flores, the American’s counsel, filed an urgent motion before the court this month to immediately order the release of Pemberton.
The American has been sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for Laude’s death.
In a four-page motion filed on Aug. 1, Flores said releasing Pemberton beyond July 31 “would [violate] the constitutional guarantee that no person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law.”
Since his conviction, Pemberton has been detained in a special jail at the Philippine military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
In 2015, Catholic church leaders joined activist and women’s groups in questioning the “special treatment” reportedly being accorded to Pemberton while in detention.
“Why the special consideration?” asked Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila on the decision of Philippine authorities to detain the American in a military camp instead of the country’s national prison.
A Philippine court ordered that the US serviceman serve six to 12 years in the country’s National Bilibid Prisons.
The Philippines’ Department of Justice, however, issued an order allowing Pemberton to be detained in a military camp in Manila until his appeal is decided by the courts, supposedly in accordance with an existing US-Philippines military agreement.