The court in Olongapo, a city 77 miles (124 km) northwest of Manila, sentenced Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton to up to 12 years in prison, according to CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong, who was at the hearing Tuesday.
The naked body of Jeffrey Laude, also known as Jennifer, was found with her head in a toilet in an Olongapo hotel room shortly after midnight on October 12, 2014, police said.
Witnesses told police that Pemberton was with Laude at a local disco before the two checked into a hotel on the night of October 11, according to documents seen by CNN.
He was later identified
as Laude's companion that night by a bellboy at the hotel.
Fit of anger
Pemberton told police in October that he'd choked Laude, but then tried to revive her. He said he had become angry with Laude upon discovering she had male genitalia, according to police.
The court ordered Pemberton to be temporarily detained at the New Bilibid Prison, south of Manila.
However, Laude's mother, Marilou Laude, was unhappy with the sentence.
"I'm not contented with 6-12 years ... but what's important is he will be sent to jail," she told CNN Philippines.
Pemberton, 19, from Bristol, Massachusetts was an anti-tank missileman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.