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A US Marine asked a judge in the Philippines Friday to suspend his murder trial as he appeared in court for the first time since his detention over the killing of a transgender woman. Before the trial proceeds, Private First Class Joseph Pemberton wants the justice department to first resolve an application to have the charge against him downgraded from murder to the lesser charge of homicide, court officials said. The judge agreed to set a hearing Monday on the American's petition to suspend the murder trial, court clerk Gerry Gruspe told reporters. Pemberton was charged with murder over the death of Jennifer Laude, 26, also known as Jeffrey, whose body was found at a cheap hotel in the red light district of the northern port of Olongapo in October.
Lawyers who defended the Sydney siege gunman on a string of charges and the magistrate who bailed him have received death threats, officials said Friday, amid growing anger that he was on the streets. Iranian-born Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Islamic cleric, took 17 people hostage at a cafe in the heart of the city's financial district on Monday. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ordered an urgent enquiry amid mounting criticism that authorities failed to protect the public, with the backlash extending to the magistrate who released Monis and lawyers who represented him. "To make death threats as has been done against members of the profession for doing a job is really an unfortunate reaction," New South Wales Bar Association president Jane Needham told ABC radio.