Olongapo, Philippines: A Philippine court found a US Marine guilty of killing a transgender woman on Tuesday, jailing him for six to 12 years in a case that has reignited debate over the American military presence in its former colony.
The Olongapo City regional trial court also ordered Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton to pay more than 4.5 million pesos ($95,350) to the family of Jennifer Laude, who was found dead last year in a hotel outside the former U.S. navy base northwest of Manila.
Pemberton will serve a minimum of six years and a maximum of 12 years in jail. He had been charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser offence of homicide, which does not require malicious intent.
He can appeal against the verdict and sentence.
"This is not quite a victory," Laude's sister, Malou, told Reuters. "We expected a murder conviction but instead got homicide. We are not contented with the decision."
Pemberton had earlier admitted in court to choking, but not killing, Laude. He said he had acted in self-defence after he discovered that a man was giving him oral sex, not a woman.
Protesters outside the Hall of Justice carried placards saying "Justice for Jennifer Laude! Justice for the Filipino people", "Jail Pemberton in the Philippines".