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A U.S. Marine charged with murder has testified in court that he choked a Filipino unconscious during a fight that started when he discovered that she was a transgender woman in a Philippine motel.

Lawyer Rowena Flores says Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton told the regional trial court Monday that Jennifer Laude was alive when he left her in a shower in October last year. Pemberton panicked after seeing her unconscious and left.

Flores says she and other defense lawyers will present evidence that raises the possibility that someone else killed Laude.

Government prosecutors charged Pemberton with murder, saying there was probable cause that he killed Laude, who had apparently been strangled to death.