- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Van der Sloot pleads guilty to killing Peru woman
Question of the Day
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the 2010 murder of a young 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,” van der Sloot, hoping for a reduced sentence, told the panel of three judges who will decide his fate. “I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad.”
Prosecutors are asking for a 30-year prison sentence under charges that carry a 15-year minimum.
Van der Sloot, a 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, Jose Jimenez, argued that he killed Stephany Flores, 21, as a result of “extreme psychological trauma” he suffered from being “persecuted” over the disappearance of Natalee Holloway on the Caribbean island of Aruba, “something he says he never did and for which no evidence at all exists.”
He said judges, in sentencing, should consider the “post-traumatic stress” his client suffered.
The judges have 48 hours to render a sentence, and the presiding magistrate, Victoria Montoya, said the court would reconvene Friday to do so.
Van der Sloot’s trial opened last week but was adjourned until 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, confessed to the May 30, 2010, killing long ago.
He told police shortly after the murder that he killed Flores in a fit of rage after she discovered his connection to the disappearance of Holloway on his laptop while they played poker online. His lawyer argued it was manslaughter, for which the minimum sentence is 5 years.
Prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder and theft.
The prosecution maintained that van der Sloot killed Flores with “ferocity” and “cruelty,” beating and then strangling her with his bare hands in his Lima hotel room, concealing the crime and fleeing to Chile, where he was caught two days after Flores‘ rotting body was found in his hotel room.
Prosecutors say he took more than $200 in cash plus credit cards from the victim and made his initial getaway in her car, leaving it in a different part of Lima.
TWT Video Picks
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors