The Dutchman, 23, will try for a reduced sentence using the “violent emotion” defense, his lawyer, Maximo Altez, told The Associated Press.
The lawyer argues that Van der Sloot killed Ramirez on May 30 after becoming enraged when he realized she had looked at his laptop and learned of his connection to missing American teen Natalee Holloway, who disappeared from the island of Aruba in 2005.
Ramirez, a Peruvian business student, was found bludgeoned to death in a Lima hotel room. Van der Sloot stands accused of first-degree murder – in Peru that means a 15- to 35-year sentence if convicted. But if his insanity defense holds up, Van der Sloot could serve only 20 months of a 3-5-year sentence, Altez told the AP.
An attorney for Ramirez’s family has spoken out on the possible plea, saying they want van der Sloot to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.
“The manner in which the suspect killed Stephany evidenced disproportionate violence,” attorney Edward Alvarez said. “The autopsy found the young woman was bludgeoned and asphyxiated.”
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