Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty in a Peruvian court Wednesday to killing a young woman in Lima in 2010, clearing the way for him to be sentenced Friday morning.
Prosecutors are seeking 30 years in prison for the 24-year-old Dutchman, who is also the prime suspect in the disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005.
Wearing a light blue, untucked shirt and blue jeans, van der Sloot fidgeted and twiddled his thumbs as he waited for the start of the court session, which was delayed by his lawyer's late arrival.
"Yes, he said, standing at a microphone, "I want to accept the anticipated conclusion and as I was thinking from the first moment always to give my sincere confession," FOX News Channel reported.
"I am truly very sorry for what I have done. I feel very bad."
After van der Sloot entered his plea, his lawyer made a statement in court, saying his client suffered from post traumatic stress disorder due to his father's death and to his treatment after Holloway's disappearance – which he referred to as the "other occurrence that he did not commit."
The prosecution objected that Holloway's disappearance was not the subject of van der Sloot's current appearance.
The court was then adjourned until 10:00am local time Friday, when van der Sloot will be sentenced.
It was the second court appearance for van der Sloot in the death of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was found beaten and strangled in his Lima hotel room. She died five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance.
Last Friday, van der Sloot told the three female judges he wanted to make a "sincere confession" but needed more time, prompting Judge Victoria Montoya to adjourn the case until Wednesday.
Admitting guilt allows van der Sloot to qualify for an "early termination" of his case, which comes with benefits under Peruvian law such as a reduced sentence and authorized leave from prison.
If he had denied the charges, he would have gone through a legal process that could have left him subject to potential life imprisonment.
Van der Sloot's attorney estimated several days ago that his client could have his sentence reduced by 15 years with a guilty plea.
"That's absurd," said Edward Alvarez, lawyer for the family of the victim, who added a reduced sentence is "at the discretion of the court." He also said it was unlikely van der Sloot would get prison privileges because examinations had determined he was a "psychopath."
Van der Sloot had initially pleaded guilty to killing Flores but later claimed his confession had been coerced.
He had said he strangled her in a burst of rage after she accessed files about Holloway on his computer.
After Flores' death, van der Sloot fled Peru for Chile, but was arrested there several days later and sent back to face trial.
He was twice arrested in the Holloway case and spent three months in jail but never was formally charged in her disappearance.
The body of Holloway, who was 18 when she vanished in 2005, never has been found.