BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After years of questions, Joran van der Sloot finally gave some answers.
Van der Sloot, the 36-year-old Dutch man the world came to know as the main suspect in the death and disappearance of Natalee Holloway, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and extortion, being sentenced to 20 years in prison on each charge, sentences that would run concurrent with one another. As part of his plea, van der Sloot confessed to murdering Holloway in Aruba in 2005 and disposing her body.
As part of his plea, van der Sloot has agreed to assist law enforcement in its investigation on the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway’s body. He also took a polygraph test that was handled by prosecutors.
In addition, he will also have credit for time served in Peru, where he is serving a drug trafficking and murder charges for the death of Stephany Flores in 2010.
“I would like to take this chance to apologize to the Holloway family and to the rest of my own family,” van der Sloot said, his large frame hunched down to speak into the microphone.
Van der Sloot said he hoped his statement would provide some peace for the Holloway family.
“I am not that person anymore,” he said, adding he is now a Christian.
Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother who became a tireless champion for both her daughter and for missing children around the world, briefly spoke in court. She spoke on the turmoil Natalee’s disappearance had caused her family over the last 18 years.
“Your lies, your manipulation, your taunting have caused us pain and the grief extends deep into my soul,” Beth Holloway said. “Now in the process, you have finally admitted that you have, in fact, murdered her.”
Beth Holloway released a full statement after van der Sloot’s sentencing.
Van der Sloot has been in Alabama since June in a case involving him allegedly telling the family of Natalee Holloway, a Mountain Brook native who vanished during a senior trip to Aruba in 2005, he knew where her body was. For years, he was considered the prime suspect in her death and many questions have circled around what he knows. However, he was never charged in her case and Holloway’s case remained unsolved.
In March 2010, van der Sloot reached out to John Q. Kelly, former attorney for the Holloways, claiming to have information on Natalee Holloway’s whereabouts. However, there was a catch: he would only give the information for $250,000.
“In subsequent emails, Joran agreed to an initial payment of $25,000 to show Kelly where Natalee’s body had been buried,” Lisa Pulitzer and Cole Thompson wrote in their book “Portrait of a Monster: Joran van der Sloot, a Murder in Peru, and the Natalee Holloway Mystery.” “Upon recovery and confirmation of the remains, Joran would receive the remaining $225,000.”
After mother Beth Holloway wired the first installment, van der Sloot took Kelly to a spot in Aruba where he claimed Natalee Holloway was buried. However, an investigation turned up nothing and van der Sloot had fled the country to Peru by the time police sought to question him,
In an interview he gave to the Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf in 2010, van der Sloot admitted to lying about Holloway’s whereabouts in order to get money from her family.
“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family,” van der Sloot said. “Her parents have been making my life tough for five years. When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not?’”
In her statement, Beth Holloway said Natalee’s death and disappearance had caused her and her family unfathomable pain over nearly 20 years.
“You changed the course of our lives and you turned them upside down,” Holloway said. “You are a killer and I want you to remember that every time you heard the prison door slam. You didn’t get what you wanted… so you brutally killed her.”
Nonetheless, Holloway said she hoped that van der Sloot would receive the highest sentence possible on the wire fraud and extortion cases. She went on to call van der Sloot “the man that no one in Aruba wants to be” and was a “black mark” on the island.
“You should never profit from this ever again,” Holloway said.
Only once during her testimony did Holloway turn around to look at van der Sloot.
“By the way, you look like hell, Joran,” she said. “I don’t see how you’re going to make it (in prison).”
Van der Sloot was sentenced to 20 years in prison on each of the charges. As part of his sentence, van der Sloot will not serve prison time in the United States if he serves the entirety of his sentence in Peru. However, if he were to be paroled, he would be required to serve the remainder of his sentence in the U.S.
Van der Sloot’s Peruvian sentence will be up on June 9, 2043.