LIMA – Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot was sentenced on Friday to 28 years behind bars for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores.
Van der Sloot, who became famous as the chief suspect in the 2005 disappearance of 18-year-old U.S. student Natalee Holloway in Aruba, must also pay civil damages of 200,000 soles ($74,000) to the victim’s family.
The convicted killer will be given credit for the time he has already spent behind bars since his arrest on June 11, 2010.
Van der Sloot, 24, looked nervous and shook his head disapprovingly during the nearly two hours it took to read out the verdict, which was translated simultaneously into Dutch.
The defendant reserved the right to appeal the conviction and the sentence, and the attorney for the Flores family agreed.
The sentence was handed down 48 hours after the accused confessed that he committed the crime in hopes of avoiding the 30-year sentence sought by prosecutors.
Asked about Van der Sloot’s chances of being paroled, Flores family attorney Edward Alvarez said parole was possible for good behavior including study or work after serving half his sentence, but added that “in crimes of blood, I don’t believe a judge exists that would grant” an early release.
Van der Sloot met 21-year-old Stephany Flores at a Lima casino and took her to his hotel room to steal the money she had won in a poker game, according to police investigations cited in the sentence.
According to the verdict, the Dutchman knocked Flores out with a blow to the head and then strangled her to death.
After stealing 850 soles ($314) and her credit cards, Van der Sloot fled to Chile by car, but when the lifeless body of Stephany Flores was found in his hotel room, the international hunt for him was on.
After being nabbed in Chile, he was handed over to Peruvian police, who placed him under the jurisdiction of a criminal court in Lima in June 2010. EFE