Joran Van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, pleaded guilty today to the murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores Ramirez.
Ramirez was murdered in Peru 5 years to the day after Natalie Holloway disappeared on her high school graduation trip to Aruba, the island where Van der Sloot grew up.
Ramirez was found strangled in Van der Sloot’s hotel room on May 31, 2010. She was only 21 years old.
Previously, Van der Sloot faced up to 30 years in jail if convicted of the murder, but that may change now that his confession has been made.
Van der Sloot claimed in a confession that he killed Ramirez in a fit of rage after she discovered his laptop which contained information connecting him to the disappearance of Holloway.
Van der Sloot was arrested twice for the suspected murder of Natalie Holloway, but was never charged due to a lack of evidence.
The Aruban prosecutor’s office received video footage of Van der Sloot making statements that Holloway died on the morning of May 30, 2005, claiming that he disposed of her body. Van der Sloot later denied that what he said on the video was true. Then, in an interview with Greta Van Susteren, Van der Sloot said that he actually sold Holloway into sexual slavery—another claim he later retracted.
But shouldn’t his most recent statement be evidence enough!?
Natalee’s father, Dave Holloway, has recently filed a petition seeking legal order to declare his daughter officially dead. A Jefferson County Probate Court judge has set a date for a final hearing to be held on Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that Van der Sloot told a court in Lima: “yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. … I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad.”
Somehow, we find this statement hard to believe. After retracting confessions and claims repeatedly over the years, who could believe anything this man has to say?
Van der Sloot smiled and appeared relaxed in the courtroom today. On January 6th he said he would “sincerely confess” to killing Flores in a plea strategy aimed at reducing his eventual prison sentence.
Under Peruvian law, a prison sentence for a “sincere confession” to a murder is normally much shorter than one for an outright guilty plea. He could spend less than a decade behind bars.
A hearing will be held this Friday, the day he will be sentenced.
In the end, we just hope some sense of peace will come to the Ramirez and Holloway families.
What do you think? Do you think Van der Sloot killed Natalie Holloway?