Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday in the 2010 case of 21-year-old Peruvian Stephany Flores, a woman he met at a Lima casino.
Yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely, he told the court.
I am truly sorry for this act. I feel very bad.
Van der Sloot, 24, was accused of murdering Flores, a skilled poker player and the daughter of a wealthy businessman, in order to steal the $10,000 she won at the casino she was seen leaving with Van der Sloot, her family has maintained. He was also arrested, but not charged, in the 2005 disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba.
Prosecutors are seeking 30 years in prison, not the life sentence they originally sought. Under Peruvian law, a prison term for a sincere confession to a murder is typically much shorter than one for a normal guilty plea.
The plea comes five years to the day of the unsolved disappearance of Holloway, The Associated Press 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.
The defense argues that Van der Sloot was in a state of emotional distress - as a result of extreme psychological trauma he suffered from the fallout of Holloway's disappearance -- when he killed Flores.
The Dutch citizen's trial opened last week, but was adjourned to Wednesday after Van der Sloot asked for more time to decide how to plead. He said last week that he was inclined to confess, but doesn't accept the aggravated murder charges the prosecution seeks.
This might not be the end of Van der Sloot's legal woes, however. In June 2010, a federal grand jury in the U.S. indicted him on charges of wire fraud and extortion for allegedly trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother in exchange for the location of Holloway's remains. According to CNN reports, Van der Sloot allegedly received $25,000 from Holloway's mother, which he used to travel to Peru, where he met Flores.
The U.S. could attempt to extradite him to face charges stateside.