OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines — A U.S. Marine accused of murdering a transgender woman last fall in the Philippines has admitted to choking her.
The Associated Press reported Marine Pfc. Joseph Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena Flores told a court in Olongapo City on Aug. 24 that her client choked Jennifer Laude in a motel last October after he discovered that she was trans. Flores asserted that Pemberton did not kill Laude.
Philippine prosecutors contend that Pemberton met Laude at a nightclub on Oct. 11, 2014, while the USS Peleliu was docked at the Subic Bay Freeport, which is adjacent to Olongapo City on the country’s main island of Luzon. Laude’s naked body was later found in a motel bathroom.
Laude’s death sparked widespread outrage among Philippine LGBT rights advocates. Her murder also highlighted long-standing opposition to the U.S. military presence in the country.
A not guilty plea was entered on Pemberton’s behalf in February.
Olongapo City is roughly 95 miles northwest of Manila, the Philippine capital.