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Joran van der Sloot's lawyer quits, citing defense strategy dispute

Netherland's Joran Van der Sloot looks down before boarding an airplane to be flown back to the Peruvian border in Santiago, Chile, Friday, June 4, 2010. The Dutch man was detained Thursday after crossing the border from Peru, where authorities affirm he's the prime suspect in Sunday's killing of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. Van der Sloot was previously arrested in the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teen Natalie Holloway, but later released by Dutch authorities. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia) AP Photo/Roberto Candia

Van der Sloot lawyer quits
Joran Van der Sloot
AP Photo/Roberto Candia

(CBS/WIAT) Joran van der Sloot is looking for a lawyer days before a murder hearing.

Pictures: Joran van der Sloot, Natalee Holloway and Peru

According to CBS affiliate WIAT, Max Altez, van der Sloot's Peruvian lawyer for the past year, has quit the case citing differences in defense strategy. Radio Netherlands Worldwide indicates there was also an issue of Altez not being paid.

CNN reports that Altez' made an official request to a judge to withdraw from the case Tuesday morning.

Altez's resignation comes at a particularly inopportune time for van der Sloot. A hearing in the murder of Stephany Flores is scheduled for June 8.

Van der Sloot reportedly confessed he killed Flores after she found material relating to Natalee Holloway on his laptop.

The body of the 21-year-old student was found in van der Sloot's Lima hotel room five years to the day after Natalee disappeared while on vacation in Aruba. Although van der Sloot is considered the prime suspect in the Holloway case, he was never charged by Aruban authorities.

According to WIAT, it is unclear who will represent van der Sloot at the June 8 hearing or whether Altez' resignation will be sufficient for van der Sloot to get a continuance. Altez has indicated he will continue to represent van der Sloot in a related case claiming human rights violations during his arrest in Chile and return to Peru. That case would be thrown out if van der Sloot's representation changes.

Complete coverage of Joran van der Sloot on Crimesider

  • Edecio Martinez

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