Van der Sloot sentenced to 28 years

Jan. 13, 2012 at 2:09 PM
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LIMA, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The Dutch suspect in the disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway received a 28-year sentence Friday in Peru for killing a young woman in Lima.

Joran van der Sloot, 24, was sentenced for the "qualified murder" of Stephany Flores, 21, CNN reported

His earliest release date would be in June 2038 with credit for time he has already spent in prison.

He had faced a sentence of up to 30 years.

Van der Sloot's lawyer argued Wednesday that emotional pressure from the accusations in the Holloway case in Aruba contributed to his client's action in Peru, the New York Daily News reported.

He noted that van der Sloot, although arrested twice after Holloway disappeared in 2005, was never charged in the girl's disappearance.

"He was faced against the entire world for the past five years prior to the [Peru] events," Luis Jiminez said. "It was five years after the disappearance of this American citizen and all media pointed at my client without having any evidence that he was in fact a monster."

On Thursday, a probate court in Alabama declared Holloway dead.

If van der Sloot had denied the charges against him in the Peru case and gone through a legal process, he could have faced life imprisonment.

Police said van der Sloot killed Flores, who he met at a casino, in his Lima hotel room May 30, 2010, then took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested four days later.

Investigators said he strangled her in a burst of rage after she found computer files on his laptop, while visiting him in his hotel room, linking him to Holloway's disappearance.

Holloway, of the wealthy Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen with van der Sloot leaving a bar on the Dutch island early May 30, 2005.

She was 18 at the time. Her body was never found.

Van der Sloot faces federal charges in Alabama for allegedly trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway, with the false promise of revealing the location of her daughter's body and describing how she died. The charges of extortion and wire fraud were filed the day of van der Sloot's arrest in Chile.

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