woensdag 23 juni 2010

Judge to rule on legality of keeping van der Sloot in jail

Lima, Peru (CNN) -- A judge is expected to decide Wednesday on the legality of Joran van der Sloot's incarceration, his lawyer said.

If the ruling is unfavorable to the murder suspect, attorney Maximo Altez said he is prepared to appeal to the highest court.

Peruvian authorities have charged van der Sloot with murder in the death of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. He also is the lead suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba.

Van der Sloot was arrested twice in connection with Holloway's disappearance but was never charged because of lack of evidence.

A court document obtained by CNN shows Flores had a cranial fracture and other significant injuries to her face and neck and showed signs of asphyxiation.

Forensic luminol tests in the hotel room where her body was found showed blood on the floors, hallway and mattress, the document said.

Flores' body was in such a decomposed state that an autopsy was difficult to perform, according to the document.

The autopsy revealed Flores had used amphetamines, it said.

Peruvian police said Monday they conducted a psychological evaluation of van der Sloot. The evaluation showed van der Sloot has a low tolerance for frustration and "doesn't value the female role," according to excerpts from the report, which prosecutors gave to a judge.

According to the document, van der Sloot "does not tolerate when someone tries to contradict him. It generates in him a challenging attitude." The report calls him "emotionally immature" and says that immaturity elicits strong changes in behavior that can send him out of control.

"He reflects a certain dominance over the opposite sex. He doesn't value the female role," the document states. It adds, "He presents traits of an antisocial personality" and is "indifferent towards others' well-being."

Despite this, the report says, "he doesn't show any psychopathological trauma that impedes him from perceiving and evaluating reality."

Also Monday, van der Sloot told the judge his rights and due process were violated after his arrest, his attorney told CNN.

While in front of the judge, van der Sloot declined to give a formal statement on the facts of the case, according to the court. He said the reason was that he hopes the statements he allegedly gave to police that led to his imprisonment will be nullified.

Van der Sloot's decision will not hold up the legal proceedings against him, the court said.

A Dutch newspaper article published Monday quotes van der Sloot as saying he was "tricked" into confessing to Flores' murder.

Peruvian police told him that if he signed the papers they gave him, he would be transferred to the Netherlands, he told De Telegraaf in a jail interview. "In my blind panic I signed everything, but never knew what was written on them," he said.

Altez -- who had said last week he was quitting as van der Sloot's attorney, but so far has not -- has maintained that the judge in the case should strike down van der Sloot's confession because he was not properly represented when he was interrogated. But Peruvian police have defended the interrogation, saying that van der Sloot's confession was obtained legally.

According to transcripts of his confession, van der Sloot said he elbowed Flores in the face before strangling her and then suffocating her with his shirt. The transcripts were provided to CNN by a police source who has not been named because he was not authorized to pass along the material.

"There was blood everywhere," van der Sloot said in the transcripts. "What am I going to do now? I had blood on my shirt. There was also blood on the bed, so, I took my shirt and put it on her face, pressing hard, until I killed Stephany."

Van der Sloot told authorities he attacked Flores on May 30 after she read an e-mail on his computer connected with the Holloway case. It was five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance. After killing Flores, police say, van der Sloot took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested on June 3.

He was returned the next day to Peru.

Van der Sloot told police in Chile a different story of how Flores died when he was arrested there, according to transcripts. He blamed the death on robbers who had waited for him at his hotel in Peru.

But Peruvian authorities said they had overwhelming evidence pointing to van der Sloot, and when he was transferred to Peru, van der Sloot confessed to the crime, police said.

Van der Sloot is being held in a high-security area of the Miguel Castro Castro prison where only two of 10 cells are occupied, and he has no contact with inmates in the general prison population. He is under guard 24 hours a day, authorities have said.


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