Pemberton asks CA to reverse verdict upholding conviction for Laude killing

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Bureau of Corrections personnel escort Joseph Scott Pemberton to the detention facility in Camp Aguinaldo after he was found guilty of killing Jennifer Laude. (Reuters file)

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers for convicted killer Joseph Scott Pemberton have asked the Court of Appeals to reverse its decision upholding the American Marine’s homicide conviction for the death of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

The motion for reconsideration filed with the CA’s Special Sixteenth Division by Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena Garcia-Flores, asked for the reversal of its April 3 decision upholding his conviction by the Olongapo regional trial court and declare him not guilty.

Pemberton was found guilty of killing Laude inside a lodging house in Olongapo City in October 2014 although the charge was downgraded from murder to homicide. He was sentenced to a jail term of up to 10 years and is detained at a facility inside Camp Aguinaldo while his sentence goes through the appeals process.

The motion filed by Pemberton’s lawyer said the CA “committed grave error in exempting the prosecution from proving that the crime of homicide was committed beyond reasonable doubt and shifting the burden on Pemberton to prove his innocence” and had “cherry-picked evidence to sustain the conviction and completely ignored all contrary evidence.”

It maintained that Pemberton did not kill Laude, insisting she was alive when he left her, albeit with “non-fatal injuries” inflicted in “self-defense.”

Nevertheless, the motion asked that, should the CA affirm Pemberton’s guilt, “that the privileged mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense and the ordinary mitigating circumstances of voluntarily surrender and no intention to commit so grave a wrong be appreciated in the determination of the imposable penalty.”

It also sought the reduction of “the amount of damages for ‘loss of income’ awarded to Private Complainant to less or equal to the current minimum wage in Zambales, which is Php349.00 a day, and delete the award of exemplary damages.”

PEMBERTON’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION:

Pemberton motion for reconsideration CA