CHICAGO (JGL) – A vocational high school superintendent, where U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton graduated from before joining the military service, said Pemberton, while a student, “did not have any discipline issues or problems.”
Pemberton is a 19-year-old U.S. Marine from New Bedford, Massachusetts accused of strangling and drowning a transgender Filipino in a motel room toilet in the Philippines two weeks ago. The incident has triggered a public uproar in the Philippines.
Linda Enos, superintendent and director of the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, in an email to the Journal GlocaLinks said, “You are correct, Marine Pemberton did graduate from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in 2013. While a student, Mr. Pemberton did not have any discipline issues or problems. I cannot give you any other information other than that.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (IL-D) told this reporter that “Senator Durbin is aware of the situation (involving U.S. Marine Pemberton), understands that Navy Criminal Investigative Services is investigating and will continue to monitor the situation.”
Senator Durbin, who is running for re-election for his Illinois Senate seat and who is leading his rival in the Nov. 4, 2014 general elections, is the chair of the Defense Committee of the U.S. Senate.
Durbin’s spokesperson, John Normoyle, added, “Joseph, if we have any further comment, I will let you know.”
US HOUSE DEFENSE CHAIR NOT COMMENTING
On the other hand, the press secretary and senior policy advisor of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-R-11th), chair of the Defense Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, said Representative Frelinghuysen is “staying out for as long as possible” in commenting on the Pemberton case.
Steve Wilson told this reporter in an email that “… I have been talking about this situation for a week. The latest: the Marine’s ship (Pelelieu) sailed last week, leaving the Marine behind in an air conditioned trailer guarded by Marines who, in turn, are being guarded by Filipino security forces.
“In short, I see every reason for RPF (Rep. Frelinghuysen) staying out of this for as long as possible. Will let RPF know we’re going to let it sit….”
Pemberton is accused in the Oct. 11 killing of the 26-year-old Filipina transgender, Jennifer Laude.
Filipino protesters took to the streets, carrying signs bearing Laude’s picture and calling for “Justice for Jennifer” following word of the killing.
The Philippine National Police identified Marine Pfc. Pemberton, who was among 3,500 U.S. sailors and Marines on board USS Peleliu in the Philippines for a joint exercise, as the suspect in the slaying.
Pemberton was left behind in the Philippines by USS Peleliu after witnesses identified him as the last companion of Laude after Laude was found dead in a motel in Olongapo City.
“HIS FAMILY LOVES HIM”
The investigation is ongoing by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Services and the Philippine National Police. The PNP has also filed murder charges against Pemberton before the Philippine public prosecutor’s office, the Olongapo Fiscal’s office. The Marines and Navy are cooperating fully in the investigations.
Pemberton’s mother, Lisa Pemberton, gave a brief statement to The Standard-Times, saying, “His family loves him very much and nothing is going to change that” before declining to comment further. She said she does not know anything about what happened and the Marine Corps has not told her anything.
Pemberton graduated in 2013 from GNB Voc-Tech, majoring in metal fabrication and joining, school officials said.
His uncle, Scott Pemberton, a former professional boxer from South Coast, said he does not know what happened, but he has a high regard for his nephew.
“I know the kid very well. He’s a really good kid,” he said. “I personally feel there is more to the story.”
Pemberton’s father, Joseph Pemberton, could not be reached for comment.
Pemberton enlisted in the Marine Corps last year and now serves as an anti-tank missileman, according to the Marine Corps Times. He is a member of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School is a public, four-year vocational technical high school for young men and women. With an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, GNB Voc-Tech is one of the largest vocational-technical high schools in Massachusetts. It serves the communities of New Bedford, Dartmouth and Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
The school’s roots date back nearly a century, to the creation of the New Bedford Independent Industrial School in 1908. When it opened in 1909, the school served only 59 students, all from New Bedford. Over the years, the school built a reputation for excellence by providing quality vocational and academic programs. In 1918, its name was changed to New Bedford Vocational School. In 1946, it became New Bedford Vocational High School. In 1955, it became the first vocational high school to be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.In 1972, voters in New Bedford, Dartmouth and Fairhaven approved the establishment of a regional vocational school district and construction of a regional vocational school. In 1977, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School was opened.
Today, the school sits on a scenic 48-acre campus in the North End of New Bedford, Massachusetts.