Joran van der Sloot says he signed murder confession in 'blind panic'
Joran van der Sloot wouldn't talk to a Peruvian judge assigned his case. Joran van der Sloot tells newspaper he signed confession out of 'blind panic.'
Joran van der Sloot refused to speak to the Peruvian judge handling his case Monday, while a Dutch newspaper reported that he has retracted his confession.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Superior Court Judge Carlos Morales visited the 22-year-old Dutchman at the maximum-security prison in eastern Lima where Van der Sloot has been held since being charged with first-degree murder in the May 30 killing of a young woman he met playing poker in Peru's capital.
The lawyer, Maximo Altez, contends the confession isn't valid because the defense lawyer present whenVan der Sloot made it was state-appointed.
Van der Sloot, who is also the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance in Aruba of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway, was quoted by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Monday as saying he signed a confession only because he was intimidated by police.
He said they promised him he would be transferred to the Netherlands if he confessed.
"I was very scared and confused during the interrogations and wanted to get away," the paper quoted him as saying. "In my blind panic, I signed everything, but didn't even know what it said."
In addition to possible involvement in Holloway's disappearance, for which Van der Sloot has not been charged, he is wanted by the FBI on suspicion of attempting to extort money from the Holloway family.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia has said Van der Sloot will have to be tried in Flores' death before any extradition request can be considered.
If convicted of killing Flores, Van der Sloot faces from 15 to 35 years in prison in Peru.
Prosecutors allege Van der Sloot killed Flores in his hotel room, where her body was found, with "ferocity and great cruelty." According to a transcript of the confession, he elbowed the young woman in the nose, strangled her with both hands, threw her to the floor, took off his bloodied shirt and asphyxiated her.