Joran van der Sloot given 28-year prison sentence

RNW archive

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Joran van der Sloot has been given a 28-year prison sentence in Lima for the aggravated murder of 21 year-old Stephany Flores in May 2010. Because of the time he has already behind bars, van der Sloot will be released in 2038. He will then be deported from Peru.

Earlier this week the Dutchman pleaded guilty to all charges hoping to be given a reduced sentence. The Public Prosecution had demanded 30 years in prison. Van der Sloot says he will appeal.

Background
Joran van der Sloot met Ms Flores in a casino in the Peruvian capital Lima. The couple returned to his hotel room where she was found strangled to death two days later. Van der Sloot fled the country but was captured by police in Chile. He was then handed over to the Peruvian authorities at the border, where he was made to cross the border himself thus avoiding lengthy extradition procedures.

Van der Sloot made a full confession to police not long after his arrest. At the time, he claimed that he killed Ms Flores because she saw information on his laptop computer pertaining to the case of missing teen Natalee Holloway.

Natalee Holloway
Joran van der Sloot has been notorious since Ms Holloway disappeared in Aruba in 2005. Ms Holloway was last seen with Van der Sloot. Her body was never found, and was only yesterday declared dead by a US judge. Although he is still the prime suspect in the case, Van der Sloot has never been charged due to lack of evidence. This is in spite of a televised confession recorded by secret cameras in a conversation set up by crime journalist Peter R de Vries.

Van der Sloot's trial began just one week ago but ended early after his plea of guilty on all counts. The public prosecution had demanded 30 years in prison and 200,000 Peruvian sol in compensation; Van der Sloot has been ordered to pay almost 60,000 euros in compensation to the Flores family.

Attempts by the defence lawyer to plead mitigating circumstances were rejected. Joran van der Sloot claimed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after being hounded all over the world following the disappearance of Ms Holloway. He also asked for the death of his father to be taken into consideration.

Minute-by-minute account
The judge gave a minute-by-minute account of what happened in room 309 of Lima's Hotel Tak in the early hours of 30 May, 2010. After meeting in a casino, Stephany Flores and Joran van der Sloot went back to his hotel room. When she saw information on the Natalee Holloway case on his computer, Ms Flores hit van der Sloot and a fight ensued. After receiving blows to the head, Ms Flores' nose began to bleed and she passed out. Van der Sloot tried to strangle her using both hands. There was a lot of blood and Van der Sloot took off his bloody shirt, using it to smother the still-breathing young woman.

Van der Sloot then cleaned up and changed his clothes. Afterwards he brought two coffees back to the room and even asked for assistance after forgetting the key. He later took Ms Flores' money and credit cards and fled the country, even briefly using her car before taking different taxis to leave Peru. Ms Flores' body was found two days later on 1 June.  

During the long summing up, Van der Sloot looked nervous. He was clearly sweating and frequently wiped the perspiration off his forehead. The hearing lasted two and a half hours; Van der Sloot was given permission to sit half way through, only standing again as the sentence was read out.

(nc/ae)