Dutch national Jordan van der Sloot pleaded guilty this week to the criminal charge of homicide after he killed a Peruvian woman during a robbery in 2010, according to a report this week from CNN.com.
The 24-year-old man, who has received international attention for the gruesome murder in Peru, faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and he and his defense attorney hope that the guilty plea will convince the judge (there is no jury) to give him a lighter sentence.
During his announcement of his plea, van der Sloot said he was “really sorry” for what happened, and sources indicate that he was “red-faced and frowning” while his criminal defense attorney read his plea.
The media has paid particularly close attention to this murder case because van der Sloot was investigated in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway, a U.S. citizen who went missing while vacationing in Aruba.
During the investigation, van der Sloot was arrested on two different occasions, but authorities never filed formal charges because they lacked enough evidence to link the man to Holloway’s disappearance.
And, despite the fact that he was never charged for a crime related to that incident, van der Sloot seemed to lose in the court of public opinion, as television talk shows railed for weeks against what they saw as a miscarriage of justice.
Van der Sloot was so famous, in fact, that his defense attorney in Peru tried to bring up the Holloway case to show that his client faced discrimination based on his history, but the Peruvian court prevented such discussions.
Nevertheless, the admitted murderer’s attorney claimed that the world “had been against him for five years before this case,” and that he had been accused of committing a crime “he said he never committed and for which there is no evidence whatsoever.”
Of course, such claims have not prevented critics from claiming that van der Sloot is a “psychopath” and that he revealed his psychological issues by sometimes laughing and acting disrespectful in court.
Interestingly, sources indicate that some experts believe van der Sloot killed the Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, because she found something related to the Holloway case on van der Sloot’s computer while she was in his hotel room.
Van der Sloot, however, claims that his encounter with Flores was a simple robbery, which is supported by the evidence that he stole money and bank cards from her wallet before fleeing to Chile, where he was eventually arrested.
Regardless of the true nature of van der Sloot’s alleged psychological difficulties, most objective observers believe that the world will be a safer place when the man is finally behind bars for a long period of time.
And, to many people who have followed the trial, the maximum sentence of 30 years seems too short for a man of van der Sloot’s caliber.