In a plea agreement with authorities, Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch man accused in the 2005 death of Alabama adolescent Natalee Holloway in Aruba, admitted to killing the girl, according to local media. On Wednesday, he pled guilty to American charges of extorting Holloway’s mother.
Van der Sloot, 36, was extradited from a jail in Peru, where he was serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of another lady in Lima, to Alabama in June.
He initially pleaded not guilty in federal court in Birmingham to two charges of extortion and fraud, accused of conspiring to get Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, to pay him $250,000 in 2010 in exchange for telling her where her daughter’s remains were buried.
“You are a killer and I want you to remember that every time that jail cell door slams,” Beth Holloway said in court after van der Sloot entered his plea, NBC News reported.
He apologized to the Holloway family and said he had embraced Christianity, NBC reported.
Holloway, an 18-year-old from a Birmingham suburb, went missing in 2005 during a high school graduation trip to Aruba, a Dutch territory in the Caribbean. Eyewitnesses said she was last seen leaving a bar in a car with van der Sloot on the night of her disappearance. While her remains have not been discovered, an Alabama judge declared her legally dead in 2012.
Van der Sloot reached a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors that requires him to truthfully disclose what happened to Natalee Holloway and confess to the killing, according to John Q. Kelly, a lawyer for the Holloway family.
Dutch authorities in Aruba arrested van der Sloot twice on suspicion of murder, but ultimately released him for lack of evidence.
Working with the FBI in a sting operation, Holloway’s family wired a portion of the demanded money to van der Sloot in 2010, but he then provided false information about where Holloway’s remains were buried, prosecutors say.
In 2012, van der Sloot was convicted in Peru after he confessed to beating, strangling and suffocating Stephany Flores, a 21-year-old Peruvian business student, in May 2010.