Court: Laude died of asphyxia by drowning

Dharel Placido,

Posted at Dec 01 2015 02:51 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2015 03:27 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Olongapo regional trial court handling the murder case of Jennifer Laude ruled that the victim died of drowning.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 gave credence to the findings of prosecution witness PNP Crime Laboratory - Region 3 head Dr. Reynaldo Dave who earlier said there were traumatic injuries on the neck of Jennifer, which could mean strangulation; as well as fluid oozing from her lungs, which could mean there was drowning.

"This court gives more credence to prosecution witness Dr. Dave's testimony as it is more consistent with the injuries sustained by the deceased," the clerk of court said, reading the court's decision.

The court will soon release its verdict on the primary respondent in the case, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton.

During the promulgation, the court also dismissed Pemberton's excuse that he tried to revive Laude.

"The accused's intent to drown the deceased was even made more manifest when he brought Laude to the side of the toilet where he can easily and conveniently access the flush lever as he maintains the deceased head inside the toilet bowl," the court said.

"This court considers the crime scene autographs and finds the body's position relevant to the toilet's flush lever more logical since the accused had more ease to access the flush lever, enabling him to simultaneously press the lever - releasing the water down the toilet bowl - and maintain the victim's head also down the boil."

"Had the accused's intention is to revive the victim, the body should have been recovered slumped to the bathroom floor beneath the shower head and faucet, his head not inside the toilet bowl."

Laude's body was discovered inside the bathroom of Celzone Hotel in Barangay West Tapinac, Olongapo City in October last year.

Hotel staff found the lifeless Laude wrapped in a bed sheet, with her head slumped in the toilet bowl.

Police said Laude checked in at the hotel with a foreigner, who appeared to be in his mid-20s. The foreigner then left the room after about half an hour.

Initial investigation revealed Laude's neck was pressed down on the toilet seat, while her head was being shoved into the toilet bowl.

Police then tagged a US Marine as the person who accompanied Laude in the motel. This US personnel would later be identified as Pemberton.