Dutchman Joran van der Sloot on Friday said he would sincerely confess to killing a Peruvian woman in 2010, a plea strategy aimed at reducing his eventual prison sentence. As a result, a Peruvian judge postponed his murder trial to Wednesday.
Van der Sloot, 24, who is accused of the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room on May 30, 2010, after the two left a casino together, was supposed to go on trial Friday. Van der Sloot was also arrested, but not charged, in the 2005 disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba.
When asked by presiding judge Victoria Montoya to enter a plea, Van der Sloot said: I want to give a sincere confession, but I don't agree with all the charges that have been placed on me by the prosecutor. Can I have more time to think about this?
Under Peruvian law, a prison term for a sincere confession to a murder is typically much shorter than one for a normal guilty plea, Reuters reported.
According to authorities, Van der Sloot long ago confessed to strangling Flores after he found her looking into his laptop, which, reportedly, led her to discovering his connection to Holloway, who disappeared while celebrating her high school graduation. Holloway was last seen leaving a nightclub with Van der Sloot.
Prosecutors initially sought a life sentence for Van der Sloot, but with a sincere confession are not pushing for a 30-year sentence on murder and theft charges; the trial will be held at Lima's Lurigancho prison.
The defense argues that Van der Sloot was in a state of emotional distress when he killed Flores and would seek to reduce the charge from first-degree murder to simple homicide. The latter carries a sentence from eight to 20 years.
Peruvian police said Flores was a skilled poker player and the daughter of a wealthy businessman; her family maintains that Van der Sloot killed her to steal the $10,000 she won at the casino. If true, a conviction could result in a life sentence.