Murder in Puru

09.28.11

Is Van der Sloot’s Confession Genuine?

The 24-year-old Dutchman confessed on Tuesday to yet another crime—this time, to the murder of Stephany Flores. Barbie Latza Nadeau on whether justice will soon be served.

Joran Van der Sloot has confessed to murdering a young woman—again. Will it stick this time? Or is it just one more ploy to keep his case from ever truly being settled.

The young Dutchman is only 24 and he has already confessed to two different murders, each victim a young woman he picked up after a night of heavy drinking. The first was Natalee Holloway, a 19-year-old American girl who famously vanished without a trace on May 30, 2005 after getting into a car with Van der Sloot and two friends outside a nightclub in Aruba. Van der Sloot was arrested in connection with her disappearance, but was later released because Holloway’s body has never been found, even though his confession to an undercover journalist was caught on hidden camera. Last year, his rap sheet grew longer when he was charged in the United States with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s mother in exchange for information about where her daughter’s body was buried.

Exactly five years after Holloway’s disappearance, on May 30, 2010, 21-year-old Stephany Flores left a casino in Lima, Peru, with Van der Sloot after a night of gambling and drinking. Her battered corpse was found in his hotel room the next morning. She had been beaten and strangled. Van der Sloot was apprehended in Chile after five days on the lam. He’s been imprisoned in Lima ever since.

Now, he has confessed on camera to the Peruvian murder, explaining in gruesome detail how he bashed in Flores’s head after finding her reading his emails on his computer. He and Flores had spent the night together, and he says he had already told her some details about accusations against him in Aruba during post-coital pillow talk. Apparently she wanted to find out more, and sifted through his emails while he was out of the room getting the morning coffee. When he returned and found her, he says he lost his temper and hit her hard on the head. That blow knocked her out and she started bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. He took off his shirt to stop the blood but she started to convulse, and strangled her in what his lawyer calls a moment of madness.

“Did you kill Stephany?” Van der Sloot replies, “Yes.” The interrogator asks once more and gets the same response.

The video, which played on Peruvian television, shows a very nervous Van der Sloot chain smoking and fidgeting in his chair. The interrogator asks a series of questions about the night of the murder and then asks if he killed her. “I want to ask you something and you just tell me yes or no,” an unnamed interrogator is heard saying. “Did you kill Stephany?”  Van der Sloot replies, “Yes.” The interrogator asks once more and gets the same response.

The confession comes as the courts in Peru determine how to charge the Dutchman with the murder. His lawyer, Luis Jiminez Navarro told The Daily Beast that the confession is part of a plea bargain he struck with the Peruvian court. By admitting murder, Van der Sloot could be charged with simple murder, basically killing on a frenzied whim, which, in Peru, carries a sentence of 20 to 28 years in prison. "My client admits having murdered the victim,” Navarro told the court, “but not with ferocity, for profit or pleasure."

Flores’s family opposes the plea bargain and want him charged with aggravated murder, which carries life in prison. The court will make a decision by December. After that, the many people touched by this young man’s alleged violent streak my finally see justice on the horizon.