In another dramatic turn, a Peruvian court granted Joran van der Sloot's request to suspend his murder trial Friday so that he can weigh his options.
Before the proceeding Friday, van der Sloot's attorney Louis Jimenez Navarro said he would plead guilty to all of the charges related to the killing of Stephany Flores on June 6, 2010.
The trial will resume January 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Van der Sloot did not enter a guilty plea to any charge Friday. However, van der Sloot told the court he was considering giving a "sincere confession," which is a type of guilty plea, but that he did not agree with all of the charges against him. The court then asked van der Sloot to clarify his answer, and he responded by saying he needed more time decide his plea.
During the proceeding, the prosecution requested a 30 year sentence.
In this trial, a jury won’t decide van der Sloot’s fate, but instead, a panel of three judges will determine the outcome. Under Peruvian law, a defendant has the right to give a "sincere confession" to the panel of judges which can result in a more lenient sentence.
Earlier this week, Navarro said the plan was for his client to plead to guilty only to the lesser crime of simple homicide. That charge only carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
However, at the last minute, van der Sloot's plan changed again to plead guilty to the more serious crime of qualified murder which carries a maximum sentence of 28 years. The legal difference between the two crimes comes down to whether or not van der Sloot intended to make Flores suffer at the moment he strangled her to death.
Van der Sloot confessed to strangling Flores on June 6, 2010. His attorneys later tried unsuccessfully to get that confession thrown out of court, saying police coerced him into making the confession.
Former Peruvian attorney and In Session guest Giovanna Gismondi says the judges will ultimately decide if Van der Sloot can give a “sincere confession” based on the evidence.
Van der Sloot was also a suspect in the highly publicized disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teen who vanished in 2005 after partying with van der Sloot in Aruba. He has never been charged in Holloway’s case and her disappearance remains unsolved.
Cameras will be inside the courtroom for the proceedings Friday morning. Tune in to HLN and In Session for live coverage starting at 9 AM ET.