MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A Philippine court has entered a not-guilty plea for a U.S. Marine charged with the murder of a Filipino transgender in a case that has tested Manila's longtime military alliance with Washington.
Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton refused to enter a plea Monday to the murder charge in a court proceeding in Olongapo city northwest of Manila, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Journalists were barred from the arraignment.
Pemberton was charged in the October killing of Jennifer Laude, whose former name was Jeffrey and who had apparently been strangled and drowned in a toilet bowl after the U.S. Marine discovered that she was a transgender woman. They had checked into a motel after meeting in a disco bar.