MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74 has denied the petition of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton to reverse his conviction for homicide.
The court also denied the US Marine’s bail petition but lowered his jail sentence from 12 to 10 years.
The family of killed Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude welcomed the court’s decision to affirm the American’s conviction.
“We are happy that Pemberton’s motion for reconsideration was not fully granted. We are happy that the decision remains: that Pemberton is guilty of killing Jennifer Laude. We are happy that he was denied bail,” Atty. Harry Roque said.
Although the Laude family lamented the reduction of Pemberton’s sentence from 12 to 10 years, Roque stressed that Pemberton still will not be able to request for parole.
Roque also said they hope this will urge authorities to review the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“We are not pleased with the lighter penalty granted…We stress that the lighter penalty of 6-10 years imprisonment still disqualifies Pemberton from seeking early release through parole. He will continue to spend time in jail.,” he said.
“We hope that this development will inspire a review of the VFA.”
Pemberton was found guilty of homicide in December last year. He was originally charged with murder before the court, but this was downgraded to homicide due to the absence of any aggravating circumstance. The court said it cannot appreciate the qualifying circumstance of treachery, which is a ground for murder.
The court also ordered Pemberton to pay Laude’s heirs P4.32 million for loss of earning capacity, P155,250 as reimbursement for wake and burial expenses, P50,000 for moral damages, P50,000 as civil indemnity and P30,000 for exemplary damages. (MNS)