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Joran Van Der Sloot Trial Suspended (UPDATE)

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AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

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.


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.


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.

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"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."

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

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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."

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

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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.

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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.

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

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"We request that the defendant receive 30 years in jail and pay 0,000 solace to the relatives of the victim."

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"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"

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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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Van der Sloot's lawyer says that his client is having difficulty understanding the proceedings, requests that everyone speak slowly.

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From the Associated Press: "Ricardo Flores, father of slain Stephany Flores, speaks with journalists outside San Jorge prison before the trial of Joran Van der Sloot in the Lurigancho area of Lima, Peru, Friday Jan. 6, 2012."

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The prosecutor explains that he has added some new witnesses, including a casino worker, who can testify about what, if any, conversations he overheard between van der Sloot and Flores, as well as three police officers, who the prosecution maintains are relevant on the basis that they will testify that van der Sloot's finger prints were in the hotel room and the victim's vehicle.

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A judge is reviewing court briefs submitted in the case so that they can be entered into the record.

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The defendant has expressed a variety of emotions on his face, ranging from a smile to agitation and anger.

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Van der Sloot tells the judge that he understands "a little" Spanish, and that his native language is Dutch. Both Dutch and English translators are present to ensure that van der Sloot's "basic rights are respected," according to one judge.

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A housekeeping worker and receptionist from the hotel where van der Sloot stayed have been sworn in.

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Three female judges have entered and are seated in the courtroom.

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He is seated, wearing a bullet proof vest with a suit jacket over it. Looking tired with bags under his eyes.

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The courtroom is still waiting on van der Sloot and his attorney. At least a dozen media people are assembled in the gallery.

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The media is sectioned off by a glass partition dividing the small prison-style courtroom, which is decorated with a large gold crucifix. A small group of spectators believed by the media to be relatives of the victim have also gathered in the gallery.

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