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Tarra Quismundo, Allan Macatuno
Saturday, Oct 18, 2014

Asia

Transgender Jeffrey 'Jennifer' Laude severely beaten

Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN | Tarra Quismundo, Allan Macatuno | Saturday, Oct 18, 2014

A police autopsy report finds contusions and blood clots on the scalp, chest, arms and legs of Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude.

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines - Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude was severely beaten before being killed allegedly by a US serviceman in a motel here, according to the police autopsy report released on Friday.

The report said Laude died from "asphyxia by drowning" and that the transgender woman's body showed contusions and blood clots on the scalp, chest, arms and legs.

Laude had "cuts and bruising on (her) head and neck," including a cut on her tongue, bruising around her eyes and cheekbones, and abrasions on her left forearm and right leg, said lead investigator SPO3 Tyrone Tecson in his report. He described the killing as a "crime of hatred," and a result of "a sex service gone wrong" when the suspect, US Marine Pvt. 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, "discovered that his sex partner was a gay (sic)."

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the US Embassy had already received a copy of the subpoena and murder complaint against Pemberton that Olongapo City prosecutor Emelie Fe de los Santos and Eduardo de Vega of the DFA legal department handed to embassy officials Friday afternoon.

The subpoena requires Pemberton and four other US Marines who will serve as witnesses to appear for preliminary investigation on Tuesday, Oct. 21, DFA Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon called on the US military "to immediately show Pemberton to the public."

"All we have is a verbal commitment from Washington. Pemberton must appear to the public as soon as possible. The Aquino administration-at the very least-should ensure this," Ridon said.

But the preliminary investigation, with or without the suspect and the witnesses, at the Olongapo prosecutor's office will commence next week, De los Santos said.

Murder complaint

The autopsy and investigation reports were added to the murder complaint filed by Marilou Laude, the victim's sister, at the Olongapo City prosecutor's office on Oct. 15.

Laude was found dead by a motel employee at 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 11, a little over an hour after she checked in at the motel with Pemberton.

According to the investigation report, the motel room's bed and pillows were arranged neatly and Laude's belongings were untouched when forensic investigators arrived dawn of Oct. 12.

'Barbie'

The motel employee who found the body testified that he saw Laude's companion leave the room at 11:30 p.m. of Oct. 11, but the American had left the door ajar. He said he was about to clean the room when he saw a sandal outside the toilet. Thinking the room was still occupied, the employee said he closed the door and returned to his post. Fifteen minutes later, he returned to the room and found Laude's body.

On Oct. 13, the police and a member of the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service ascertained Pemberton's identity after several witnesses, including Laude's friend "Barbie," picked out his picture during a "photo-lineup process," the report said.

On Wednesday, murder charges were filed against Pemberton who was seen leaving the bar with the 26-year-old transgender woman on the night of the killing.

CIDG review

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will be reviewing the complaint against Pemberton to make sure that the Philippine National Police has an "air tight case," CIDG Chief Director Benjamin Magalong said, adding that PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima had ordered the Special Investigation Task Group formed to pursue the case.

The suspect is under US custody onboard the USS Peleliu docked at Subic Bay, as provided for by the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

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