Joseph Scott Pemberton, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines, has been pardoned in the murder of a transgender woman by the Philippines President.
Pemberton was convicted in 2015 of murdering Jennifer Laude, a woman he met at a bar when he was stationed nearby.
The court believed he paid Laude for sex and then caused her death by strangling and drowning her in a toilet when he realized she was trans on October 11, 2014.
His sentence initially called for him to serve up to 12 years, and he was expected to serve 10 years – but he will be released having served less than six..
Duterte’s pardon renders their concerns moot.
“The president has erased the remaining punishment against Pemberton… he can now go home because of the pardon,” announced Harry Roque, a spokesman for Duterte.
It’s unknown what factors led to Duterte’s decision, but the Philippine Star reports that Roque believed that this pardon would give the country access to COVID-19 vaccines from American drug makers.