US marine accused of murdering trans woman offered plea deal

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A US marine who has been accused of murdering a transgender woman in the Philippines has been offered a plea deal.

A not guilty plea was entered last month on behalf of the US marine charged with the murder of a transgender woman.

This comes after 26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found strangled in October, naked with her head in a toilet near a US Navy Base.

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton – who was one of hundreds of US marines in the area for a training exercise – was formally charged of the woman’s murder a few days later.

Olongapo chief prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos on Tuesday said Pemberton was offered a plea deal which included him pleading guilty to a lesser charge and paying damages.

De los Santos told AFP that Pemberton and the Philippine state prosecutors “have to agree on all points. After that, we’ll inform the court.”

He went on to say that Pemberton had not yet responded to the deal offer.

If either party rejects the plea deal then the case will proceed to trial.

Laude’s family said they were not opposed to a plea deal as long as it included jail time.

Pemberton’s lawyer last year filed a motion to “declare the absence of probable cause for murder or any other crime”.

The head of public prosecution later announced that a lawsuit had been filed, saying there was a strong case after a review of evidence.

A witness has claimed Laude’s body was discovered after she shared a room alone with Pemberton at Celzone lodge.

Politicians in the Philippines are pushing for a tougher anti-discrimination law following the incident, which has also stirred anti-US sentiment.