June 16, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

CNN recently reported that Joran van der Sloot has been officially charged with the murder and robbery of a 21-year old student in Lima, Peru. Van der Sloot was also one of the prime suspects in the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalie Holloway, but was never charged due to a lack of evidence. Van der sloot is thought to be responsible for the murders of both Holloway and Flores.

In the current case, van der Sloot has been charged with the murder and robbery of Stephany Flores Ramirez after the two met while playing in a poker tournament. Video surveillance shows Flores and van der Sloot entering his hotel room together, and him leaving alone more than three hours later.

Van der Sloot admitted that he attacked Flores after she read an email on his computer regarding the Holloway case. It is reported that van der Sloot savagely beat Flores, eventually breaking her neck. After killing her, the police statement says that van der Sloot cleaned the room in an attempt to hide evidence of the crime, changed clothes and fled with Flores’ money, bank cards and black Jeep.

Under California law, murder is a felony. There are two degrees of murder; first degree and second degree. Under California Penal Code (CPC) Section 189, first degree murder is any premeditated murder such as torture, lying in wait, or the use of a destructive device or explosive, or murder which is committed in the act or attempt to commit arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, or kidnapping. Most other types of murders are of the second degree.

Every person guilty of first degree murder will face the death penalty, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or 25 years to life. Every person guilty of murder in the second degree will face imprisonment in the state prison for 15 years to life. However if the person is guilty of second degree murder of a peace officer, the penalty is imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Under the CPC Section 211, robbery is defined as the wrongful taking of another’s property against his will by means of force or fear of immediate injury to himself or a relative. Robbery is also divided into first and second degrees. First degree robbery is any robbery of a person operating a public transportation vehicle, any passenger of a public transportation vehicle, robbery committed in an inhabited home including a boat and a trailer, or the inhabited portion of any other building, and any person using an ATM. Robbery of the second degree is any other type of robbery not mentioned.

Robbery is a felony, and is punishable as such. Under CPC Section 213, robbery of the first degree is punishable by up to 6 or 9 years in state prison depending on the type. Robbery of the second degree is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison.

Murder and robbery are some of the most seriously punishable crimes under California law. Simply being accused of committing either of the two could place a stigma on your reputation for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with murder or robbery, you must seek the assistance of an experienced Southern California criminal defense attorney immediately. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience taking on cases just like yours. We will look at the particular facts of your case to determine the best defense strategy that is available to you that will result in the best possible outcome. Call us today at 888-749-0034 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. We will be here when you call.

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