OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines — The trial of a U.S. Marine who allegedly killed a transgender Philippine woman began on March 23.
The Associated Press reported that U.S. security personnel escorted a handcuffed Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton into a courtroom in Olongapo City, which is northwest of the Philippine capital of Manila.
Prosecutors contend that Pemberton murdered Jennifer Laude, 26, after meeting at an Olongapo City nightclub on Oct. 11, 2014, while the USS Peleliu was docked at the nearby Subic Bay Freeport on the Philippines’ main island of Luzon.
Laude’s naked body was later found in a motel bathroom.
The AP reported the first person to testify during Pemberton’s trial was a hotel worker who identified him as the man seen with Laude shortly before she was found dead.
Laude’s death sparked widespread outrage among Philippine LGBT rights advocates.
Pemberton faces life in prison if found guilty of Laude’s murder.