Jan. 11, 2012 -- Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway, pleaded guilty today to the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores in Peru after his lawyer claimed he killed Flores because he suffered mental trauma from being accused in Holloway case.
"Yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely," he said today in court, according to The Associated Press. "I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."
Van der Sloot faced seven to 30 years in jail if convicted at a trial. It's not clear how much time he will get as a result of his confession. His hearing was suspended until Friday when he will be sentenced.
Van der Sloot's lawyer said today that he had killed Flores as a result of the "extreme psychological trauma" he'd experienced in the Holloway investigation.
"He was faced against the entire world for the past five years prior to the events ..." Jiminez said. "It was five years after the disappearance of this American citizen and all media pointed at my client without having any evidence that he was in fact a monster." The lawyer said there was no proof his client killed the American teen.
Flores, the 21-year-old daughter of a wealthy and influential Peruvian businessman, was found strangled in van der Sloot's hotel room on May 31, 2010. The two had reportedly met at a Lima casino.
Van der Sloot Flees
The Dutch national who lived in Aruba fled Peru but was arrested three days later in Chile, which sent him back to Peru.
He reportedly claimed in a confession shortly after the slaying that he'd killed Flores because she found information linking him to Holloway on his computer.
Van der Sloot, 24, appeared in a Lima court last Friday and agreed to make a confession but then asked the court for more time to consider his options.
Van der Sloot had twice been arrested for the disappearance of Holloway, a 19-year-old from Alabama who vanished during a celebratory trip to Aruba with her senior class in May 2005.
Van der Sloot maintained that he'd left her on a beach, drunk. That's the last anyone has seen of her.
In an email to ABC News, John Kelly, the attorney for Beth Twitty, Holloway's mother, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Flores family during these extraordinarily painful and public proceedings. We hope they find some measure of privacy, inner strength and peace as time goes by."
Kelly also said that after van der Sloot's sentencing Friday, "we anticipate that U.S. authorities will move quickly to bring him to Alabama to face pending federal charges and to answer for his past conduct in Aruba."
Van der Sloot is being sought by the FBI for alleged fraud and extortion.
In exchange for $25,000 from Twitty, he allegedly promised to tell her where her Holloway's body was. After Twitty paid the money, van der Sloot pointed out a new house and said her body was encased in the foundation, a claim he later admitted was a lie.