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Van der Sloot to Confess to Murder in Peru?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 06, 2012 11:31 AM

Joran Van der Sloot confessed! No -- not to the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway. He has publicly admitted to the 2010 strangulation of Stephany Flores in Lima, Peru.

When questioned by a Peruvian judge on Friday, Van der Sloot said he'd like to offer a "sincere confession" but needed more time to think.

He long ago admitted that he became enraged when he found Flores looking at his laptop, which contained information about the Holloway case.

In light of this request, the judge has postponed further proceedings until January 11. At that point, Joran Van der Sloot is expected to enter a plea, which may or may not be "guilty," reports CBS.

Joran Van der Sloot confessed, so it may seem a bit strange to plead "not guilty." But it appears as though Peru operates much like the United States -- there are different grades of murder.

His attorney plans to argue that Van der Sloot was emotionally distressed when he killed Flores, according to CBS. If accepted, the charge could be reduced from first degree murder to simple homicide.

The same would happen in the U.S., where murder charges can be downgraded to voluntary manslaughter. A downgrade requires proof that the defendant acted with adequate provocation, but extreme emotional or mental disturbance is generally sufficient to meet this definition.

Because a sentence for voluntary manslaughter can end up being shorter than that given for a guilty plea, it might be wise to keep fighting. Joran Van der Sloot confessed, but that doesn't mean he wants to spend the rest of his life in jail.

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