Tune in to HLN’s “Nancy Grace” at 8 and 10 p.m. ET Friday for reaction and analysis in the Joran van der Sloot case.
NEW: Natalee Holloway's father says van der Sloot's actions seemed "all planned out"
No plea is expected from Joran van der Sloot in the Peruvian case until Wednesday
The Dutch citizen, 24, is charged with killing a young woman in Peru
The victim's father has said van der Sloot has seemed indifferent, not remorseful
Joran van der Sloot on Friday asked for more time to “reflect” on what plea he will make during his murder trial, shortly after his attorney indicating the 24-year-old Dutch man suddenly had changed his strategy in relation to the killing.
Earlier in the day, his attorney said van der Sloot was expected to plead guilty to all charges, but when it came time to tell the court, he asked instead for more time.
When asked for a plea by the magistrates, van der Sloot said he wanted to give a “sincere confession” – a type of guilty plea that can qualify him for a reduced sentence – but did not agree with all of the charges against him. When the judge asked for clarification, he said he needed more time to decide his plea.
The trial is postponed until Wednesday, when van der Sloot is expected to finally give his plea. He is charged with “qualified murder” and simple robbery in the killing of 21-year-old Stephany Flores.
On Friday, prosecutors went over all the evidence and witnesses they had and gave a summation of the case against van der Sloot.
About six and a half years ago, the Dutch national was considered the prime suspect in the case of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, who vanished while on a graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba. He was arrested twice but never charged in connection with Holloway’s disappearance, which is still unsolved.
Yet van der Sloot’s trial in another high-profile case, which his lawyer said has a tenuous connection with the Holloway story, is set to go forward Friday.
Van der Sloot was charged last September with “qualified murder” and simple robbery, which together could carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. Flores’ family later tried – unsuccessfully – to convince three judges from the superior court of Lima to impose an even more serious slate of charges that could have included a life sentence.
The victim’s family, including her father Ricardo Flores, had pushed for stiffer charges and claimed that van der Sloot hasn’t looked “remorseful” in court appearances.
“He had an indifferent and prideful attitude. He looks as if he has everything under control. He looks better than when he appeared on TV after he was arrested,” Ricardo Flores told CNN last year.
Three judges will preside over Van der Sloot’s trial, starting Friday, and there is no jury.
Besides the Flores’ murder trial, van der Sloot also faces extradition charges to the United States. In June 2010, a federal grand jury in Alabama indicted him on charges of wire fraud and extortion after allegations surfaced that he tried to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s mother. He was given a total of $25,000, and authorities believe he used that money to travel to Peru and participate in a poker tournament, where he met Flores.
Holloway’s father told HLN’s “Nancy Grace” show on Friday night that he felt van der Sloot appeared intent on trying to “cause … issues and problems” during his court appearance. The father said he that believed the Dutch national seemed to be trying to manipulate the Peruvian system, saying he felt he’d done the same in court appearances in Aruba surrounding his daughter’s disappearance.
“He’s done this many times before,” Dave Holloway said. “I think this was all planned out.”
InSession’s Jean Casarez and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.