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 Joran van der Sloot back in court Wednesday

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PostSubject: Joran van der Sloot back in court Wednesday   Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:01 am

Joran van der Sloot back in court Wednesday

By Jean Casarez
updated 3:15 PM EST, Tue January 10, 2012


  • Joran van der Sloot is charged with killing a Peruvian woman in 2006
  • On Friday, van der Sloot said he wanted time to weigh his options
  • The Peruvian court recessed until Wednesday to give van der Sloot the time he requested

Joran van der Sloot will be back in court Wednesday, but it’s anybody’s guess what will happen.

After a four-day hiatus, day two of his murder trial starts at 10 a.m. ET at Lurigancho Prison in Lima, Peru.

Watch live coverage on In Session.

On Friday, van der Sloot was asked if he admitted to charges including “qualified murder” and “simple robbery" in the death of Stephany Flores. He was expected to plead guilty, but instead, stopped justice in its tracks. It’s not clear if he was confused by the phrasing of the question or whether he just wanted to delay the trial. But whatever the reason, he shut down the trial by simply asking if he could think things over for a while. All parties agreed to the delay and court was recessed for the day.

Van der Sloot’s attorney Louis Jimenez Navarro said his client agrees with -- and will plead guilty to -- the lesser crime of “simple murder,” but he doesn’t agree with the “qualified murder” charge. The legal difference between the two crimes comes down to whether or not van der Sloot intended to make Flores suffer as he strangled her to death.

On Wednesday, the trial could pick up where it left off, with van der Sloot admitting to “qualified murder” and “simple robbery” as charged. Then he would go on to recount the night of May 29, 2010 and the early morning hours of May 30. A so-called “sincere” confession could potentially go a long way in helping him reduce the 30 years of incarceration asked for by prosecutors by half or even more.

But will he give an honest confession? If he lays out the facts of that night and they do not corroborate the forensic evidence (including blood and computer evidence), testimony from taxi drivers, or even his own confession given to police shortly after he was arrested in Chile and brought back to Peru, what then? The all-female three judge panel can accept or reject his account. If he confesses, prosecutors could argue any inconsistencies. But prosecutors indicate that because Flores is gone, it will be up to van der Sloot to tell them what exactly went on in the hotel room.

There is also the possibility that he could decide that he doesn’t want to plead at all and the trial will then go forward. If he pleads guilty, the panel will have approximately 48 hours at the conclusion of the proceeding to determine his punishment. If the trial proceeds, it could last six months.
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