A U.S. Marine was convicted Tuesday by a Philippine court of murdering a transgender woman last year while on break after a joint military exercise in the country, The Associated Press reported.
Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted of homicide and sentenced to 6-12 years in jail, with credit for time served.
In October 2014, Pemberton checked into a hotel with Jennifer Laude in Olongapo after meeting in a disco. After discovering she was a transgender woman, Pemberton first strangled Laude, then dunked her head into a toilet bowl.
During Pemberton’s trial, two of his Marine colleagues testified that he told them, “I think I killed a he/she,” according to the AP.
Pemberton’s arrest came shortly after the United States signed a defense accord with the Philippines that provides it with better access to the country’s military camps, a move to possibly counter China's growing clout in the region.
The case sparked calls by some in the Philippines for an end to America’s presence in the country.
After the verdict was announced, protestors burned an effigy of Uncle Sam and yelled "Justice for Jennifer,” the AP reported.