Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted of homicide for the killing of Jennifer Laude in a motel in October 2014, after they met in a bar following joint US-Philippine military exercises near the city of Olongapo.

Judge Roline Jinez Jabalde sentenced Pemberton to six to 12 years in jail, after the charge was reduced from murder which carries a heavier penalty, citing mitigating circumstances, including the fact that Laude had not revealed her gender identity.

The court heard that Pemberton and Laude agreed to have sex after meeting, but that the drunken Marine turned violent when he discovered Laude still had male genitals.

'The killing of Laude amounted only to homicide' and did not have the legal elements of murder, the court ruled. A lawyer for the Laude family, Harry Roque, expressed outrage that the sentence was reduced on those grounds.

Another family lawyer, Virgie Suarez, said Pemberton would serve at least six years and authorities would have the option of holding him longer, depending on his behaviour.

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