Why Peru's police need Joran van der Sloot to reenact killing

Joran van der Sloot is scheduled to reenact his murder of a university student today. He confessed on Monday, but the reenactment of the killing could be crucial to the charges he'll face and how much time he'll spend in prison.

Karel Navarro/AP
Police officers escort Joran Van der Sloot during a press conference at a police station in Lima, Peru, June 5. Van der Sloot, a Dutch national who has confessed to killing a university student here, is scheduled to reenact today the events that led to the murder.

Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch national who has confessed to killing a university student here, is scheduled to reenact today the events that led to the murder.

Peru’s investigative police will lead Mr. van der Sloot to the casino where he met Stephany Flores and then to the Hotel Tac, where she was killed on May 30.

According to police sources, van der Sloot told investigating officers that he had gone out to get coffee for himself and Ms. Flores Ramirez early on May 30. When he returned, he found her using his laptop computer. He reportedly said that she was looking at information about the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba and recognized that he had been accused of murdering Ms. Holloway.

That's when van der Sloot flew off the handle and beat Flores Ramirez to death, according to police reports of his confession.

"The girl intruded into my private life," he told investigators, according to Peru's La Republica newspaper. "She had no right. I grabbed her by the neck and I hit her."

Today, he'll walk police through the way he says he killed Flores Ramirez.

Van der Sloot's mother has raised questions about whether the confession was coerced, according to the family's Dutch lawyer, Bert de Rooji. The attorney told CBS News : "He said, 'I'm being interrogated in a very rude way' … and he said, 'I think they are aiming at a coerced confession.' " 

 The reenactment of the crime, which is standard procedure in Peru, will give van der Sloot an opportunity to show police his version of what happened.

 “The reenactment is necessary because officers can visually see what was taking place when the crime was committed. It lets officers establish if there are inconsistencies in a defendant’s statement,” says Carlos Neyra, a spokesperson for the investigative police.

Reenactment may be key to charges and jail time

The crime scene walkthrough could also determine the kind of sentence van der Sloot receives here.

His version suggests that the murder was not premeditated as has been speculated, because of the fact that Flores’ murder occurred on the fifth anniversary of Holloway's disappearancet. Van der Sloot has been called the "May 30 serial killer" in the Peruvian press.

His account would also rule out robbery as a motive.

These facts are crucial, because the charge of homicide or second-degree murder carries a sentence as low as 15 years. With good behavior, study and work in a Peruvian prison, van der Sloot could, hypothetically, be released within seven years.

In this scenario, he would not yet be 30 years old when released.

Premeditated murder, on the other hand, carries a 30-year sentence and conditions for parole are much narrower.

Aggravated robbery, which is when the victim is killed in a robbery, is the worst-case scenario from van der Sloot’s perspective. This crime in on the table, because there is testimony that Flores Ramirez won about $1,000 playing poker the night before she was murdered and that van der Sloot killed her to steal the cash.

He would be sentenced to life if officers establish this as the crime.

Three more days to complete investigation

Police had originally planned to reenact the crime on Tuesday, but they did not receive notification from the prosecutor’s office.

It is now scheduled for Wednesday, but no time has been specified.

Under the warrant issued for van der Sloot, the police have seven days from June 5 to complete the investigation. The prosecutor’s office will then determine the charges that will be filed.


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