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Joran Van Der Sloot Pleads Guilty To Murder: 'I Feel Very Bad'

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Karel Navarro, AP
Karel Navarro, AP

Newswires around the world are abuzz Wednesday over the guilty plea entered by Joran van der Sloot in the 2010 slaying of Peruvian business student Stephany Flores. The Dutch native, who is equally infamous for his longtime association with the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway, now awaits a three-judge panel to decide his fate.

Asked by Judge Victoria Montoya at the start of the trial if he was guilty, van der Sloot replied "yes" in a firm voice.

"I want to give a sincere confession," the 23-year-old Dutchman said. "I am truly regretful for what I have done. I feel very bad."

After van der Sloot's brief statement, his defense attorney, Jose Luis Jimenez, tried to mitigate the charges, saying his client was also a victim.

"I would like to say very sincerely ... my client, Joran van der Sloot, [on] May 30 of 2010 was 21 years old. He was in fact persecuted," Jimenez said. "He was faced against the entire world the last five years ... because of an occurrence he never actually committed and there is no existing evidence. I refer to an American citizen missing in Aruba ... added to the recent death of his father. This is all part of the baggage my client carried with him that morning that affected him in a negative order."

PHOTOS: JORAN VAN DER SLOOT (Article Continues Below)

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Van der Sloot suffered from traumatic stress disorder the day of Flores' murder, according to his lawyer.

"It was five years after the disappearance of the American citizen and all media pointed out my client without having any evidence that he was in fact a monster," Jimenez said.

Jimenez asked for a reduced sentence for van der Sloot, citing his client's fragile state of mind at the time of the murder and his cooperation with investigators.

At one point during Jimenez's court address, prosecutors objected to his continued reference to the Holloway case, something with which the judge agreed.

Neither van der Sloot nor his attorney provided details on Flores' murder during the hearing. The 21-year-old was found dead in van der Sloot's Lima hotel room on June 2, 2010 -- exactly five years after Holloway vanished. The discovery set off a police manhunt that ended with van der Sloot's arrest in Chile.

In the days following van der Sloot's arrest, Peruvian authorities announced that he had confessed to the murder. He allegedly told authorities that he broke Flores' neck in a fit of rage after she reportedly used his laptop to find out about his involvement in the Holloway case.

"I did not want to do it," van der Sloot allegedly said about the attack. "The girl intruded into my private life. She had no right. I went to her, and I hit her. She was scared. We argued, and she tried to escape. I grabbed her by the neck, and I hit her."

It remains unclear if van der Sloot will be required to discuss details of the murder prior to sentencing. He is expected to appear in court again Friday at 10 a.m. He faces a sentence of up to 30 years behind bars.

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