CRIME

Joran Van Der Sloot Trial Suspended (UPDATE)

01/06/2012 10:11 am 10:11:00 | Updated Jan 06, 2012

UPDATE: 11:55 a.m. -- Joran van der Sloot defied reports that he would plead guilty today at the opening of his Peruvian trial in the killing of Stefany Flores. Instead, the Dutchman requested more time before entering a plea and the trial was suspended until Jan. 11.

PREVIOUSLY:

At the opening of his murder trial Friday in Peru, Joran van der Sloot's defense is expected to start with him pleading guilty, CNN reported.

Van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in the 2005 disappearance in Aruba of American teenager Natalee Holloway, is charged with first-degree murder and robbery for the May 2010 slaying of Stephany Flores, 21. Flores was found dead in his hotel room in Lima on June 2, 2010.

Peruvian prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison sentence and $73,000 restitution for Flores' family. They allege van der Sloot’s motive was robbery.

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According to CNN, the 24-year-old Dutchman’s attorney, Luis Jimenez, said his client plans to plead guilty to all charges in the Flores case. Jimenez said the intention would be for van der Sloot to give a "sincere confession," which could qualify him for a more lenient sentence under Peruvian law, the cable news network reported.

Flores was killed on May 30, 2010 -- exactly five years after Holloway disappeared. The Alabama teen's body has never been found, and van der Sloot has never been charged in her disappearance. He was, however, indicted in the U.S. on charges that he extorted $25,000 from the young woman's parents. Prosecutors said that, in exchange for the money, he promised to reveal how Holloway died and the location of her body.

Van der Sloot's trial begins at 10:00 a.m. in Lima's Lurigancho prison near the Castro Castro prison. Unlike a typical American trial, there will be no jury. Instead, three judges will preside over the trial.

01/06/2012 11:34 AM EST

Ricardo Flores, The Victim's Father, Speaks:

"I'm not surprised. ... They have suspended the hearing so they can have it clear," said Ricardo Flores, father of Stephany Flores. "I think it is good for my family, for the peace, that this should come to a conclusion quickly. I hope that the Peruvian authorities do not make a joke of the sentence. I think they should allow my family to have some peace, to be able to close this issue. ... We will not make any more statements."

01/06/2012 11:32 AM EST

Takeaway

Rather than enter a plea or make a confession, van der Sloot has requested more time to consider his options.

01/06/2012 11:29 AM EST

Earlier Today

From the Associated Press: "Joran Van der Sloot attends his murder trial held at the San Jorge prison in Lima, Peru, Friday Jan. 6, 2012."

01/06/2012 11:24 AM EST

Van Der Sloot Exits

The defendant has put his bullet proof vest and jacket back on and is now being escorted out of the courtroom.

01/06/2012 11:21 AM EST

Request: Granted

Despite pleas from from the prosecution, the judge has suspended the trial. The court plans to reconvene on Jan. 11 at 11:00 a.m.

01/06/2012 11:19 AM EST

A Request From The Defense

Van der Sloot's attorney requests that the hearing be continued at a later date. The judges are entering private consultation to discuss the issue.

01/06/2012 11:17 AM EST

Judge To Van Der Sloot:

The judge has told the defendant, "You have heard the accusations. Do you understand?" Van der Sloot responds, "Yes."

01/06/2012 11:15 AM EST

The Prosecution Suggests A Sentence

"We request that the defendant receive 30 years in jail and pay $200,000 solace to the relatives of the victim."

01/06/2012 11:12 AM EST

The Prosecution Says

"The prosecution will prove that the defendant attacked the victim brutally, attacked her with cruelty, hit her in various parts of her body, hit her face with violence, hit her head, took her pants off, strangled her with his own hands, and killed her ... The Prosecution will prove van der Sloot killed the victim will malice because the victim was totally defenseless ... The prosecution will prove the defendant is the person that ended the victim's life"

01/06/2012 11:06 AM EST

Latest From The Courtroom

The prosecutor is currently describing how van der Sloot met his alleged victim -- says that the defendant met Flores and took her to his hotel room to play Internet poker.

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Natalee Holloway
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