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Peruvian judge postpones Joran van der Sloot murder trial until Jan. 11

Joran Van der Sloot enters the courtroom for the start of his murder trial held at the San Jorge prison in Lima, Peru, Friday Jan. 6, 2012. Van der Sloot, 24, stands trial Friday for the 2010 murder of the 21-year-old Stephany Flores, of Peru, nearly seven years after he became the prime suspect in the unsolved disappearance of an American teenager on holiday in Aruba. AP Photo/Karel Navarro

Joran Van der Sloot enters the courtroom for the start of his murder trial held at the San Jorge prison in Lima, Peru, Friday Jan. 6, 2012.
AP Photo/Karel Navarro

(CBS/AP) LIMA, Peru - A Peruvian judge has postponed Joran van der Sloot's murder trial to Jan. 11 after he asked for more time to decide how to plead.

Pictures: Joran van der Sloot: Natalee Holloway and Peru

Van der Sloot, 24, accused in the murder of a young Peruvian woman, had been set to go on trial Friday, nearly seven years after he became the prime suspect in the disappearance of American teenager Natalie Holloway.

He is charged with killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room on May 30, 2010, after the two left a casino together.

Authorities say Van der Sloot confessed to killing Flores, claiming he became enraged after she discovered his connection to Holloway, who disappeared while celebrating her high school graduation on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. Holloway was seen leaving a nightclub with Van der Sloot.

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison sentence for Van der Sloot on murder and theft charges in a trial that will be held at Lima's Lurigancho prison.

Van der Sloot's attorney Luis Jimenez will argue that his client was in a state of emotional distress when he killed Flores and thus the charge should be reduced from first-degree murder to simple homicide. The latter carries a prison sentence of eight to 20 years.

Lawyers for Flores' family, who are allowed to participate in the trial under Peruvian law, will try to show that Van der Sloot killed her to steal money she won at the casino.

If the court finds that to be true, a conviction could result in Van der Sloot being sentenced to life in prison.

Van der Sloot has been in custody since being arrested in Chile days after Flores' death.

Complete coverage of Joran van der Sloot on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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