A video is aired Monday by America TV and other Peruvian news organizations
Van der Sloot tells police he killed Stephany Flores and describes how he did it
He was arrested in June 2010 and charged this month in the woman's death
His lawyer has said his client would confess to "simple homicide" but not other charges
In a videotaped interrogation with Peruvian police broadcast Monday, Joran van der Sloot admitted that he hit, strangled and ultimately killed a 21-year-old woman last year in his Lima hotel room.
Footage of the confession by the 24-year-old Dutch national was aired by America TV, a CNN affiliate, as well as other Peruvian news organizations. In it, an interrogator twice asks van der Sloot in Spanish whether he killed Stephany Flores. Both times, he answers yes.
The admission is part of a lengthier conversation in which van der Sloot explains that he met the young woman in a casino in Miraflores, and then they went to his hotel room. There, the suspect said, he began hitting her after noticing that she had pulled up news about him on his computer.
Wearing a hooded sweatshirt and smoking a cigarette, a seemingly calm van der Sloot answers a series of detailed questions about the case on the video. Among other things, he describes hitting the victim in the head with his elbow and putting two hands around her neck.
Van der Sloot was arrested in June 2010 in relation to Flores’ death but was not formally charged until this month.
The three Peruvian drivers who allegedly helped him flee to Chile after the incident are also charged in the case. Prosecutors want five-year prison sentences for them and fines of about $1,800.
Before he resigned as van der Sloot’s lawyer this year, Maximo Altez told In Session that his client attacked Flores after she found something on his computer that tied him to the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, who vanished while on a graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005. Van der Sloot was arrested twice but never charged in connection with Holloway’s disappearance, which remains unsolved.
“My client … admits having murdered the victim, but not with ferocity, for profit or pleasure, nor any of the other element(s) that make up this murder, but only by violent emotion that overtook him at the time he was attacked by the victim,” Altez said in a motion that was given to In Session.
In a September 2010 jailhouse interview with a Dutch television station, van der Sloot refused to answer questions about the Flores case, saying it is “not in my best interest to talk about it at all.” But he maintained that police tricked him into making a confession, saying they would not let him call his mother, talk to anyone or arrange for an attorney.
Van der Sloot’s present attorney, Luis Jiminez Navarro, said this month that this client was willing to confess to a “simple homicide” charge in relation to Flores’ death but not to more serious charges that would carry longer prison terms.
Both the accused and the victim’s family disagree with the indictment proposed by prosecutor Miriam Riveros Castellares. She asked a three-judge panel to indict van der Sloot on charges of qualified murder and simple robbery, which carry 28-year and two-year sentences. He would also have to make a restitution payment of $73,000 to the victim’s family, if convicted.
The judges received a proposed counter-indictment in writing from Navarro on September 12, proposing van der Sloot would confess to the simple homicide charge that carried a 20-year maximum prison sentence.
But the attorney for the family of the victim told the three judges that the prosecutor’s proposed indictment against van der Sloot had “mistakes,” a news release from the court said.
According to Navarro, the Flores family’s lawyer Edward Alvarez Yrala asked the court to charge van der Sloot with a charge similar to aggravated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.