Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has granted an absolute pardon to Joseph Scott Pemberton, the U.S. Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman in 2014. Pemberton met the victim, Jennifer Laude, when he was stationed in the Philippines. Pemberton used a ‘trans panic’ defense in his trial, saying he feared Laude would rape him after he discovered she was transgender.
The AP report in 2015 after Pemberton was convicted: “Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted of homicide by first strangling Jennifer Laude and then dunking her head into a toilet bowl in the hotel they had checked into after meeting in a disco bar in Olongapo city, northwest of Manila. He was sentenced to 6-12 years in jail, with time spent in detention credited, said court clerk Gerry Gruspe. Laude’s mother, Julita, said that while she was happy the verdict detailed everything that had transpired, she was not pleased with the jail term because she had hoped Penderton would be found guilty of murder, a graver crime.”
“Duterte said homicide convict US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was treated unfairly when his behavior while detained and in prison was not duly monitored by Philippine authorities for good conduct time credits,” GMA Network reports.
The Guardian reports: “A leftwing human rights group, Karapatan, immediately condemned the pardon as a ‘despicable and shameless mockery of justice and servility to US imperialist interests’. Pemberton was convicted of homicide and has been serving a prison sentence of six to 10 years for the killing of Jennifer Laude in a motel in Olongapo city, north-west of Manila. His lawyer, Rowena Garcia-Flores, told the Associated Press that Pemberton had already been aware of Duterte’s decision when she called him.”