MANILA - The legal team of US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton is ready to raise his appeal to the Supreme Court (SC), should the Court of Appeals (CA) stand by its decision to uphold a lower court verdict that found him guilty of homicide over the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude in October 2014.
"We will know the grounds [for the motion for reconsideration] upon reading the decision of the CA," Atty. Rowena Garcia-Flores, one of Pemberton’s lawyers, said.
The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 had sentenced Pemberton to 6 to 10 years imprisonment in December 2015. He has since been held at a special military facility inside Camp Aguinaldo.
The CA affirmed his conviction earlier this week.
In his dismissed appeal, Pemberton had urged the CA to reverse the trial court’s ruling, arguing he acted in self-defense after Laude allegedly slapped him upon his discovery that the latter had male reproductive organs as they got intimate at the Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City on Oct. 11, 2014.
At a bar hours earlier, the Filipino had met the Marine, at the time out on liberty off the visiting USS Peleliu.
In his plea, Pemberton had also argued that the cause of Laude’s death was “doubtful,” and that someone else could have killed him as the latter was allegedly still breathing when the soldier left the room where they had checked in.
The appellate court, however, was unconvinced, and ruled that “[a]ll in all, despite Pemberton’s self-serving, exculpatory statement limiting his involvement in the crime, all circumstances pointed to his guilt.”