- REUTERS/Pilar Olivares(PERU - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Joran van der Sloot, the man accused of killing Stephany Flores in 2010 and one of the lead suspects in the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway, has written a letter seeking forgiveness from Flores' family. He also blames his predicament on bad legal advice and unaddressed psychological issues.
"I ask God every day that Stephany's parents can find it in their heart to forgive me," van der Sloot wrote in this latest letter. He was found guilty of the young woman's murder in Peru two years ago and is currently serving 28 years in prison. Van der Sloot must serve at least one third of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
While that case led to a conviction, the case of missing high school student Natalee Holloway is still open and unresolved. She disappeared during a school trip to Aruba, and van der Sloot was named a person of interest but nothing ever led to an arrest.
He was also accused of trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother, Beth, in exchange for information leading to the retrieval of Natalee. Beth went to authorities, and van der Sloot fled to Cuba, thereby avoiding charges. The courts approved an extradition order, but van der Sloot must first finish serving his time in Peru.
"My rights have been constantly abused," van der Sloot wrote. "My lawyer promised me I would receive 15 years if I plead guilty, which I did. I have a history of psychological problems, which were never taken into consideration."
Holloway's mother still has hope that van der Sloot will be formally charged in the U.S. for the murder of her daughter. Van der Sloot, however, has always maintained his innocence in Natalee's disappearance.
He confessed to the murder of Flores, whom van der Sloot said had discovered his suspected involvement in the Holloway case. Van der Sloot beat the young Flores and took her wallet before feeling to Chile. The murder took place exactly five years after Holloway was reported missing.