Joran van der Sloot's Sentence Isn't Justice for All (PHOTOS)

joran van der sloot"Joran van der Sloot, you may leave the hall," the Peruvian tribunal said today right after it was determined he would serve 28 years in jail for killing Stephany Flores. Of course, this sentence also gave us here in America a very deep satisfaction in knowing that in some small, indirect way, he is finally going to pay for what most of us believe he did to Natalee Holloway.

The verdict today, two years short of the maximum (which is baffling), had nothing to do with the Holloway case. Her name was invoked in the sentencing, however, when the judge made mention of van der Sloot's suspicion in her disappearance, to which van der Sloot just sat there with his cold, expressionless face. This is not meant to take away from the vindication of Flores' family and her spirit today. This is a victory for the people of Peru and for the Flores family for the horrible crime that was committed against her. But Natalee's presence was there in that courtroom today, too.

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The sentencing dragged on for the better part of an hour before the three-person tribunal (all women!) got to the bottom line. It was something to behold, the once cocky van der Sloot reduced to a pile of fidgety, twitchy nerves as he sat there in his green T-shirt picking at his skin and face, looking down and then up with those cold eyes, resting his face in his hands so that we found ourselves staring more at the top of his shaved head than his face. At one point, when it was apparent the outcome was not going to go his way, he even seemed to get teary -- but the jury's still out on whether that was shame, remorse, fear, or just show.

joran van der sloot

The most reaction van der Sloot showed through the entire proceeding was when the tribunal said they found his confession "insincere" -- if they had bought that, he would have gotten a much lighter sentence, as little as 7 years. He made the most obnoxious smile/smirk that the urge to slap him was strong. He reacted similarly to the ruling that he is required to pay the family of the victim 200,000 nuevos soles (about $75,000) in civil reparations for the murder.

I am so glad that the Flores family can finally find some closure and vindication for what van der Sloot did. But it's hard to consider the outcome of this trial an outright victory with all that is still unresolved and unpunished in the Natalee Holloway case. Knowing what we do about van der Sloot so far, we and the Holloway family especially will probably never know what happened and need to accept that and move on now.

But it's probably enough to feel that at least one more monster is out of circulation for another 26 years (he's already served two years in jail). It's not everything, but it is something. A good something. The end.

What is your reaction to the verdict?

 

Images via CNN

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