Laude case: Reexamination of condom wrapper OKd
OLONGAPO CITY—The judge hearing the murder case against US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton on Monday ordered forensics experts to reexamine a condom wrapper, which government witnesses said bore the fingerprints of the American soldier.
Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of Regional Trial Court Branch 74 here granted the June 29 petition of Pemberton’s lawyers for another examination of the wrapper by experts of the Philippine National Police crime laboratory in Camp Crame, said Deputy City Prosecutor Misael Ladaga.
Pemberton is undergoing trial for murder over the death of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, whose body was found inside a motel bathroom here on Oct. 11 last year.
Jessica LeCroy, a latent print examiner from the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, testified that the American soldier’s fingerprints matched those lifted from a condom wrapper that was recovered from the motel room where Laude was found dead.
Ladaga said Jabalde had ordered the public prosecutors to “surrender or submit” the item to the court despite their objections. “[But] we believe the reexamination will have the same result since the evidence has been preserved well,” the prosecutor told the Inquirer.
In her order, Jabalde said Pemberton “has the right to subject the evidence of the prosecution … for reexamination.” She ordered the PNP crime lab to submit a report within three days after receiving the sealed evidence.
The court does not allow media coverage of the trial, but lawyers of parties involved in the case may inform reporters about the proceedings without discussing the merits of the case.
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