Joran van der Sloot may be ready to confess to Peruvian murder (+video)
Joran van der Sloot said he wanted to confess to the murder of Stephany Flores in Peru in 2010. Van der Sloot is still a suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005.
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Prosecutor Jose Santiesteban said he would prove if the case goes to trial that Van der Sloot "brutally attacked the victim, with cruelty in different parts of her body."Skip to next paragraph
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"He strangled her with his own hands," he said.
He said Van der Sloot then left the hotel room and, to hide the crime, bought two cups of coffee across the street, asking a hotel employee to open his room when he returned.
He said Van der Sloot later left the room with 800 Peruvian soles (more than $200) in cash and the victim's credit cards.
The handsome, garrulous Dutchman, a staple of true-crime TV shows for years after Holloway's disappearance, has in several interviews described himself as a pathological liar.
Flores' father, Ricardo Flores, told the AP that he has no doubt that Van der Sloot preyed on his daughter because he was hard up for money and had learned she had just won $10,000 at the casino where they had met while playing poker.
He said casino employees and two of his daughter's friends were prepared to testify to that effect and that casino video showed Stephany Flores cashing in chips in exchange for the $10,000.
Video taken at the casino also show Van der Sloot leaving with Flores in the wee hours of May 30, 2010, and closed-circuit video taken at the defendant's hotel shows the two entering together and Van der Sloot leaving alone hours later, bags packed.
"I think it's good for the family if this concludes rapidly," Ricardo Flores, a circus promoter and former race car driver, told the AP.
The family's lawyer, Edwar Alvarez, had argued for life in prison for Van der Sloot, saying the defendant robbed the victim as well as her car, which he abandoned south of Lima as he fled to Chile.
Stephany Flores was killed five years to the day after the disappearance of Holloway, a 19-year-old from Mountain Brook, Alabama, who was celebrating her high school graduation on Aruba and was seen leaving a nightclub with Van der Sloot.
Holloway's body has never been found.
Ironically, Van der Sloot's trip to Lima may have been funded by continued fallout from that case.
U.S. officials, who indicted him on extortion and fraud charges just days after the Flores killing, say Van der Sloot had just extorted $25,000 from Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, by offering to lead her attorney to Holloway's body in Aruba.
They say that after meeting with the attorney there, without delivering on his offer, he flew to Lima on May 14, 2010, two weeks before Flores' death.
Van der Sloot has told several people he was involved in Holloway's disappearance, only to later deny it.
Ricardo Flores said he doesn't think Van der Sloot is at all contrite over his daughter's death and wants to see the defendant placed in conditions of greater deprivation.
Unconfirmed reports denied by prison authorities have said Van der Sloot lives in relative comfort. He is isolated from the general population in the high-security Castro Castro prison.
Neither the mother of the victim nor that of the defendant attended Friday's hearing.
Van der Sloot's lawyer said his client's mother, Anita, did not want the media attention. The defendant's father, a prominent lawyer, died of a heart attack at age 57 in February 2010.
Ricardo Flores, lighting one cigarette after another, said his wife had wanted to get on a flight back from the United States for the hearing but was dissuaded by family members.
"If it's difficult for me," he said, "you can imagine how it is for her."
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