A U.S. Marine who was arrested in the killing of a transgender Filipino outside a former U.S. Navy base in the Philippines will go on trial but prosecutors are yet to decide on a charge. The Marine was named a suspect after the person was found dead in Olongapo City about 80 miles east of Manila.
On Monday, the accused Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton failed to answer a murder complaint, leaving the prosecution to determine whether to charge him with murder or homicide, Reuters reported, adding that Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena Garcia-Flores said that the Marine should be charged with homicide, or killing without intent, instead of murder. Pemberton did not appear at his first preliminary hearing last Tuesday.
“Do not teach us what to do,” Reuters quoted Olongapo chief prosecutor Emelie Fe delos Santos as telling Pemberton's lawyer. “We will base our resolution on the evidence that we've gathered. We should respect the process.”
Delos Santos also said that the crime scene would be inspected by prosecutors on Nov. 5 to decide whether Pemberton should be charged with murder or a lesser crime.
On Oct. 11, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipino transgender woman was found dead inside a hotel toilet in Olongapo City in the province of Zambales, Philippines. Although Pemberton was named a suspect, he had denied the allegation at a U.S. facility at the main Philippine army base in Manila.
Pemberton will attend another hearing on Nov. 5 so that his fingerprints and DNA samples can be taken, Channel News Asia reported.