Van der Sloot Pleads Guilty

Joran Van der Sloot appears in Peruvian court over murder of Stephany Flores
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2012 9:55 AM CST
Van der Sloot Pleads Guilty
Joran van der Sloot looks back from his seat after entering the courtroom for the continuation of his murder trial at San Pedro prison in Lima, Peru, Wednesday Jan. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Karel Navarro)

Joran Van der Sloot has officially admitted to killing at least one woman: He pleaded guilty today to the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, a killing that occurred five years to the day after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. "Yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely," he told the court in Lima, Peru. "I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad." His lawyer then argued that the killing was born from the "extreme psychological trauma" Van der Sloot suffered in the wake of the Holloway vanishing.

The 24-year-old Dutch citizen's trial opened last week, but was adjourned until today after Van der Sloot asked for more time to "reflect" on his plea. The AP notes that he said last week that he was inclined to confess—Van der Sloot admitted to authorities that he killed Flores in a fit of rage—but didn't accept the aggravated murder charges the prosecution seeks. The panel of three judges has 48 hours to render a sentence. Prosecutors are calling it first-degree murder, and want 30 years; the defense says the killing was manslaughter, which has a minimum sentence of five years. Van der Sloot entered the plea in hopes of a reduced sentence. (More Natalee Holloway stories.)

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