Van der Sloot Pleads Guilty to Killing Peru Woman

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LIMA, Peru — Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman he met at a Lima casino who was killed five years to the day of the unsolved disappearance in Aruba of an American teen in which he remains the main suspect.

"Yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely," he told the court. "I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."

The three-judge panel said sentencing would be Friday. Van der Sloot faces a possible 30 years in prison for the slaying of Stephany Flores, though the guilty verdict was aimed at winning a lighter sentence.

Van der Sloot's lawyer argued after his client's brief statement that the 24-year-old Dutch citizen killed Flores as a result of "extreme psychological trauma" he suffered from the fallout of the 2005 disappearance on the Caribbean island of Aruba of Natalee Holloway.

The trial opened last week but was adjourned to Wednesday after Van der Sloot asked for more time to decide how to plead.

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Prosecutors sought 30 years in prison on first-degree murder and theft charges. The defense claimed the killing was manslaughter, whose minimum sentence is 5 years.

Van der Sloot claimed in a confession shortly after the May 30, 2010, murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores that he killed her in a fit of rage after she discovered on his laptop his connection to the disappearance of Holloway.

But prosecutors say Van der Sloot killed Flores, a business student from a prominent family, in order to rob her after learning she had won money at the casino where the two met. They say he killed her with "ferocity" and "cruelty," beating then strangling her in his Lima hotel room.

Holloway, an Alabama teen, disappeared a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba where Van der Sloot grew up.