Van Der Sloot

January 11, 2012 by staff 

Van Der SlootVan Der Sloot, Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the 2010 murder of a Peruvian woman he met at a Lima casino who was killed five years to the day after the unsolved disappearance in Aruba of an American teen in which he remains the main suspect.

“Yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely,” he told the panel of three judges that will decide his fate. “I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad.” Prosecutors are asking for a 30-year prison sentence.

The 24-year-old Dutch citizen did not show emotion during his brief confession in fractured Spanish and did not call on the services of a Dutch translator provided for the proceeding.

He bowed his head later when his lawyer argued that he killed Stephany Flores, 21, as a result of “extreme psychological trauma” he suffered from the fallout of the 2005 disappearance on the Caribbean island of Aruba of Natalee Holloway.

Conferring privately with defense attorney Jose Jimenez before leaving the courtroom, Van der Sloot briefly smiled.

The judges have 48 hours to render a sentence and the presiding magistrate, Victoria Montoya, said it would reconvene Friday to do so.

Van der Sloot’s trial opened last week but was adjourned to Wednesday after he asked for more time to decide how to plead. He said then that he was inclined to confess but did not accept the aggravated murder charges the prosecution sought.

Van der Sloot, who wore faded jeans and an untucked light-blue button-down shirt, entered the plea in hopes of a reduced sentence.

He had confessed to the May 30, 2010, killing long ago.

Shortly afterward, he told police he killed Flores in a fit of rage after she discovered on his laptop his connection to the disappearance of Holloway. His lawyer claims the killing was manslaughter, for which the minimum sentence is 5 years.

Police forensic experts disputed that claim and the attorney for the victim’s family contends Van der Sloot killed Flores, a business student from a prominent family, in order to rob her. Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison sentence on first-degree murder and theft charges.

The prosecution van der Sloot killed Flores with “ferocity” and “cruelty,” beating and then strangling her in his Lima hotel room, concealing the crime and fleeing to Chile, where he was caught several days later after Flores’ rotting body was found in his hotel room.

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