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P21-M settlement in Laude murder case?

Bebot Sison Jr. (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2015 - 12:00am

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – The family of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude is open to a plea bargain that would involve downgrading the murder case against US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton to homicide in exchange for a considerable amount and a written apology from the accused, a reliable source said yesterday.

The source said prosecution and defense lawyers discussed a possible plea bargain arrangement during a closed-door meeting the other day.

The prospect of a plea bargain emerged even as Laude family lawyers insisted they were determined to see Pemberton convicted and put behind bars.

“There have been talks on plea bargaining. It is possible for an accused to plead guilty to a lower offense, in this case from murder to homicide. The difference here lies in the number of years,” Virgie Suarez, one of the Laude family’s two private lawyers, told The STAR.

“Indeed the Laude family wants nothing else but to see Pemberton being immediately convicted and sentence be imposed. If this will happen it will do well if Pemberton will publicly apologize to the Laudes and to the Filipino people,” Suarez added.

Julita Laude, the victim’s mother, is reportedly seriously considering a P21-million offer from the camp of the accused in exchange for lowering the charge from murder to homicide.

“With the death of Jennifer, the family indeed incurred expenses, thus the civil aspect is instituted with the murder charge. Even with the pleading, their expenses like burial, interment, lost income should be paid,” Suarez added.

Harry Roque, the other counsel for the Laude family, earlier said that while they were studying the possibility of a plea bargain, they had never wavered in their position that Pemberton should be punished.

“The Laude family does not agree to any situation wherein the accused will not be punished by incarceration,” Roque earlier told reporters. “He has to be punished to serve as a warning to others that when they are in our territory, they have to abide by the laws of an independent Philippines.”

FAMILY HARRY ROQUE INDEED THE LAUDE JENNIFER JULITA LAUDE LAUDE MARINE LANCE CORPORAL JOSEPH SCOTT PEMBERTON PEMBERTON SUAREZ VIRGIE SUAREZ
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