MANILA, Philippines – The sister of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude has asked the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office to allow witness Mark Clarence Gelviro, known as Barbie, to identify the US Marine suspected of the killing before his fingerprints and buccal swabs are taken.
In an urgent motion filed through her lawyers on Thursday, November 6, Marilou Laude asked prosecutors to direct the witness to identify US Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton.
Pemberton is the 19-year-old American soldier whom witnesses identified as the last person seen with the victim before she was found dead at a lodge in Olongapo City on October 11.
Prosecutors earlier granted Laude’s motion requesting the gathering of latent fingerprints and buccal swabs from Pemberton to form part of the evidence that will be used in the preliminary investigation into the murder complaint against the American soldier.
“Barbie is … in the best position to say whether the PFC Pemberton whom both Philippine and US authorities say is being held at the MDB-SEB facility in Camp Aguinaldo is in fact the person he tagged as Jennifer’s killer,” the motion read.
It added: “Otherwise, the whole process of gathering fingerprints and buccal swabs will be rendered inutile if the identity of the source of said fingerprints and buccal swabs cannot be convincingly established.”
Based on the results of the forensic analysis and testimonies of witnesses, the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office will determine if there is enough evidence to charge Pemberton in court.
In the motion, the lawyers of the Laude family noted that it was witness Barbie who identified Pemberton through a photo lineup conducted on October 13.
The witness earlier told police that Pemberton and Laude had met at Ambyanz Disco Bar on the night of October 11 before checking in at the nearby Celzone Lodge.
The lodge’s cashier told police that he found Laude’s body on the bathroom floor of Room Number 1, several minutes after the US soldier left the room.
Pemberton is currently detained in Camp Aguinaldo, pending preliminary investigation into the murder complaint against him.
The prosecutor’s office directed the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory to carry out the gathering of samples on November 6. – Rappler.com
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