OLONGAPO CITY, Phlippines - If the decision were his to make, German Marc Sueselbeck said the American soldier who allegedly killed his girlfriend, Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude, would get the death penalty.
"But if the Philippine law does not allow it, I would like to see the [suspect] get punished accordingly. Death penalty or not, I hope we will get justice for what happened to her," Sueselbeck told the Inquirer from Germany in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Laude, whom Sueselbeck planned to marry in Thailand next year, was found dead in the bathroom of a motel in this city on Saturday night.
A murder complaint was filed on Wednesday by Laude's family against Pvt. 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the United States Marine Corps, who witnesses said checked into the motel with Laude that night.
Sueselbeck said he was doing all he could to come to the Philippines on Sunday to pay his last respects to Laude.
The family has yet to announce burial plans for Laude.
"I'm finishing some work stuff here [in Germany], so if time permits me, I'd be there by Sunday," Sueselbeck said.
He said he planned to stay in the Philippines for six days.
Sueselbeck and Laude met online and were in a relationship for two years.
Michelle Laude, a sister of the victim, confirmed on Thursday that they had talked to Sueselbeck and were told that he would arrive on Sunday.
Sueselbeck, in a statement posted by a television network on its website, said Laude's family knew about and had accepted their relationship.
"I know her well. We have talked thousands of hours. Since December 2012, I spent nearly 90 days with her in the Philippines. Jennifer [had] been the most true, hopeful, and life-hungry person I ever met in all my life. She had her childish moments. She was hot-tempered. And her feelings … were always extreme. But she was authentic," he said.
In the statement, Sueselbeck condemned the brutality of Laude's death, describing the suspect as "sick" and "bloodthirsty."
He also lamented that Laude was disrespected. He vouched for Laude's integrity, saying she was not a thief and not a sex worker.
"I will try my best to get there as soon as I can, to pay the honour and respect to Jennifer as the Rose of Olongapo, the honour and respect she [deserved] but never got from society," he said.