US marine accused of murdering trans woman offered plea deal
A US marine who has been accused of murdering a transgender woman in the Philippines has been offered a plea deal.
This comes after 26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found strangled in October, naked with her head in a toilet near a US Navy Base.
US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton – who was one of hundreds of US marines in the area for a training exercise – was formally charged of the woman’s murder a few days later.
Olongapo chief prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos on Tuesday said Pemberton was offered a plea deal which included him pleading guilty to a lesser charge and paying damages.
De los Santos told AFP that Pemberton and the Philippine state prosecutors “have to agree on all points. After that, we’ll inform the court.”
He went on to say that Pemberton had not yet responded to the deal offer.
If either party rejects the plea deal then the case will proceed to trial.
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Laude’s family said they were not opposed to a plea deal as long as it included jail time.
Pemberton’s lawyer last year filed a motion to “declare the absence of probable cause for murder or any other crime”.
Politicians in the Philippines are pushing for a tougher anti-discrimination law following the incident, which has also stirred anti-US sentiment.