"Yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."
This was the forced statement muttered by the internationally notorious Joran van der Sloot in a Peruvian courtroom on Wednesday morning. On Friday, van der Sloot had surprisingly been granted the luxury of more time to consider the depth of the criminal charges against him. The evidence pointing to his guilt, though, was overwhelming. Van der Sloot's moment of reckoning had arrived and he knew he could no longer escape as he had always done in the past. Joran got caught and his time had now run out.
Facing a panel of judges, van der Sloot finally pled guilty to the brutal 2010 murder of twenty-one-year-old Stephany Flores that occurred in a Lima hotel room following a night of raucous gambling and drinking. The unexpected murder of Flores, the daughter of a prominent Peruvian businessman, refocused the world's attention on a reckless, young man already drowning in controversy and suspicion. It was a painful reminder of van der Sloot's dangerous potential.
Fooling no one, van der Sloot's attempt at giving a "sincere confession" in court on Wednesday came off as only a desperate, last ditch move to mitigate the severity of his upcoming sentencing. Shockingly, this "sincere confession" could potentially qualify van der Sloot for a shorter sentence under Peruvian law. While it is unclear how much jail time he will ultimately be given, it is doubtful that this insincere legal maneuver will actually work in Joran's favor.
Finally backed into a corner, van der Sloot's characteristic arrogance and outward contempt for the law seemed to now have been conveniently rubbed off of his smug and pallid countenance. It is not entirely shocking. This drastic change in attitude could mean the difference between spending most of his life in prison and getting a greatly reduced stint in a foreboding South American prison. After all, it is now Joran's future that is at stake, not just the life of a defenseless young female victim.
Long considered the primary suspect in the disappearance of American student Natalee Holloway who went missing in Aruba in 2005, van der Sloot eerily killed Stephany Flores exactly five years after Holloway disappeared. One can only wonder how many more young women could have fallen prey to van der Sloot in the future had he not been stopped now.
Van der Sloot's attorney relied disingenuously on the sensational Holloway case as he sought clemency for his client before the judicial panel on Wednesday. He claimed that Joran killed Flores as a result of "extreme psychological trauma" associated with being investigated in connection with Holloway's disappearance. Painting van der Sloot as a victim of the Natalie Holloway saga in order to distract attention from the heinousness of Stephany Flores' murder is a morally disturbing tactic that only serves to further denigrate the true victims of these cases.
Whether Joran van der Sloot was involved with Natalee Holloway's disappearance and apparent murder is irrelevant to the punishment that should be meted out by the court for his callous and inexcusable killing of Stephany Flores. Why should a Peruvian court show van der Sloot any mercy merely because he took a minute of his breath to give what he considers to be a "sincere confession?" What is even the value of a "sincere confession" if it is merely words without any meaningful actions or behavioral changes to support it?
Joran van der Sloot did not care about the extreme psychological and emotional trauma that he caused Stephany Flores as he mercilessly beat and strangled her to death, leaving her body barbarically strewn across a hotel room. Instead, he just coldly took his victim's casino winnings and tried to escape to a different country, repeating the same pattern of human cruelty, lies and deceit that he had imposed on others before Stephany unwittingly fell into his trap.
As a Peruvian court decides Joran van der Sloot's sentence, it is imperative that it truly measures the gravity of his crime, considering carefully how the depravity of his actions robbed Stephany Flores of her bright future and her family of a beloved daughter. In closely examining van der Sloot's flawed character and his real threat to society, it will become apparent that a "sincere confession" is hollow when it is born in an emotional void. There is no doubt that Joran van der Sloot deserves to be punished to the maximum extent possible under the laws of Peru.