Marine found guilty

A Philippine court found U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton guilty of murdering a Filipino transexual prostitute on Monday.

Pemberton met Jennifer Laude at a Philippine disco in 2014 while he was on break. After negotiating a price, Pemberton and Laude checked into a hotel in Olongapo City about 30 minutes later.

Laude apparently did not tell Pemberton he was a female impersonator before he performed oral sex on him.

Pemberton became enraged when he learned Laude was a man. He attacked Laude, strangling him and dunking his head in a toilet.

Pemberton used the “gay panic” defense, saying he and Laude were fighting and he defended himself after he learned the prostitute was really a cross-dresser.

Pemberton was sentenced to 6-12 years in prison. He will be credited with time already served in detention.

He was also ordered to pay Laude’s kin 4.5 million pesos (about $130,000) for the loss of Laude’s earning potential.

“No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child,” Laude’s mother Julita Cabillan told the AP. “What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn’t mean we can’t fight for justice.”

Cabillan said she was happy Pemberton was convicted but she was not satisfied with the light prison sentence.

Pemberton will be temporarily held in the national penitentiary south of Manila, guarded by U.S. marines, until the U.S. and Philippine governments can agree where he will serve out his sentence.