Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beyond Psychological Trauma to Murder

Last week, Joran Van der Sloot confessed to the murder of Peruvian, Stephany Flores.  He was the prime suspect of the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway while she was vacationing in Aruba.  He fled to Lima, Peru after being investigated for the Holloway disappearance and he met Flores at a casino. He murdered Flores exactly five years after Holloway’s disappearance once he found her reading on the internet about Holloway’s investigations he was involved with. Flores was found strangled on May 31, 2010 in Van der Sloot’s hotel room.

On January 11, 2012, Van der Sloot claimed he was “truly sorry” and that he had “wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely” for the murder, yet it is the first time he did after over a year and a half.  He hoped that his sincere apology would allow the court to give him leniency and not give him the thirty year maximum sentence.  In fact, on January 13, the Peruvian court only reduced the maximum sentence by two years awarding him twenty-eight years to be served.  Due to his time served his sentence will last until June 10, 2038, when Van der Sloot is fifty years old.  It is reported that he was in disbelief of the sentence, as if his “sincere apology” would help resolve the brutal murder of Flores.

Van der Sloot’s lawyer even stated to the court that Van der Sloot murdered Flores because of “extreme psychological trauma” he endured because he was a prime suspect in the Holloway case.  It is impressive how Holloway’s murder investigations could traumatize Van der Sloot when his acts murdered a woman who was curious about learning of the investigations.  It seems like quite the stretch to express that extreme psychological trauma would cause one to murder an innocent victim especially when he repeatedly gave conflicting stories to law enforcement about his involvement with Holloway.

Prior to sentencing Van der Sloot was held in the Castro Castro prison where it is reported that he had access to Internet, television, and cell phone usage.  Luckily, he will no longer be receiving these luxuries at high-security Piedras Gordas penitentiary in northern Lima where he has recently been transferred.  Psychological trauma or whatever he may choose to claim, he murdered Flores and will serve his sentence accordingly in Peru.

Monica Trigoso
Editor-in-Chief, Criminal Law Brief

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