The Philippines has deported Joseph Scott Pemberton, the U.S. Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman in 2014. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton last week. The deportation was arranged by the U.S. embassy and the U.S. government paid for Pemberton’s flight out, according to the Washington Post.
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.”
USA Today reports: “Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton said in a farewell message that he was ‘extremely grateful’ to President Rodrigo Duterte for pardoning him and expressed his ‘most sincere sympathy’ to the family of Jennifer Laude… In his nearly six years of confinement, Pemberton said he spent ‘much time contemplating the many errors’ he committed the night Laude died. ‘He wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret,’ according to Pemberton’s message, which was issued by his lawyer, Rowena Garcia-Flores.”
Law & Crime adds: “Attorney Virginia Suarez, who represents Laude’s family, said she wished Pemberton ‘peace of mind,’ and expressed hope he had learned ‘the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality.'”
The Washington Post adds: “Julita Laude, Jennifer’s mother, said she felt betrayed by Duterte. She said the president had promised the family Pemberton would not be freed during his term. ‘Ten years in prison is all we are asking. … Ten years!’ Julita Laude said in a statement. ‘It’s a short time to pay in jail for the life of my daughter.'”