Conviction of 'cannibal cop' overturned

Conviction of 'cannibal cop' overturned

Posted: Updated:
Gilberto Valle Gilberto Valle
Gilberto Valle walks free after spending 2 years in jail. A judge overturned his conviction of plotting to kill and eat women. Gilberto Valle walks free after spending 2 years in jail. A judge overturned his conviction of plotting to kill and eat women.

By TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — A former New York Police Department officer left jail on Tuesday after a judge stunned prosecutors and overturned his conviction in a sensational case accusing him of plotting on the Internet to kidnap, kill and eat young women, including his wife.

Judge Paul Gardephe ruled late Monday that there was insufficient evidence to support a jury's guilty verdict in the kidnapping conspiracy conviction of Gilberto Valle. He agreed with defense arguments that the defendant's bizarre exchanges in fetish chat rooms about cannibalizing women never put anyone in danger.

Valle's "depraved, misogynistic sexual fantasies about his wife, former college classmates and acquaintances undoubtedly reflected a mind diseased," the judge wrote. But, he added, prosecutors failed to prove he had entered into genuine agreements to kidnap the women and taken concrete steps to carry them out.

At a hearing Tuesday before his release, Valle - dubbed the "Cannibal Cop" by the tabloids - smiled at his family and hugged his lawyers in court. Once outside, he told reporters he was eager to go home after spending more than 20 months behind bars.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone I hurt, shocked and offended with my infantile behavior," he said. He also thanked his family and fellow inmates at a federal lockup for helping him endure an "impossible situation."

Valle, 40, "is guilty of nothing more than very unconventional thoughts," said one of his attorneys, Julia Gatto. "We don't put people in jail for their thoughts. We are not the thought police."

The judge set bail at $100,000 and ordered home detention in Queens for the defendant after prosecutors told him they intended to appeal his ruling.

"The government believes the jury got it right," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman.

Valle was arrested in 2012 after his wife discovered disturbing material on his computer and reported it to the FBI. He was convicted in March 2013 on the conspiracy charge - which carries a possible life term - and a misdemeanor count of illegally accessing a law enforcement database.

At trial, prosecutors had argued that Valle took steps to carry out his plot, including looking up potential targets on a restricted law enforcement database; searching the Internet for how to knock someone out with chloroform and where to get torture devices and other tools.

In one of the numerous online conversations shown to the jury during the trial, Valle told a man he met in a fetish chat room, "I want her to experience being cooked alive. She'll be trussed up like a turkey. ... She'll be terrified, screaming and crying."

In another exchange, Valle suggested a woman he knew would be easy prey because she lived alone. The men discussed cooking her, basted in olive oil, over an open fire and using her severed head as a centerpiece for a sit-down meal.

The NYPD fired Valle after his conviction.

Associated Press writer Ula Ilnytzky contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 3 NJ mayors to announce anti-crime plan

    3 NJ mayors to announce anti-crime plan

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:03 AM EDT2014-07-28 13:03:29 GMT
    The mayors of three of New Jersey's largest cities are announcing a joint initiative to combat violent crime. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres have scheduled a news conference in Jersey City for Monday afternoon to announce the plan. The news conference is being held in one of Jersey City's most crime-plagued neighborhoods.
    The mayors of three of New Jersey's largest cities are announcing a joint initiative to combat violent crime. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres have scheduled a news conference in Jersey City for Monday afternoon to announce the plan. The news conference is being held in one of Jersey City's most crime-plagued neighborhoods.
  • Man charged with shooting pet turtle

    Man charged with shooting pet turtle

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 12:26:19 GMT
    A Stonington man has been charged with cruelty to animals after police say he shot his girlfriend's pet turtle. Steven Richard, 31, reportedly used a BB gun to shoot the turtle in the head Friday night outside a home on Pawtucket Avenue. Police responded to the home just after 8 p.m. when a neighbor reported an argument between Richard and the woman who lives there.
    A Stonington man has been charged with cruelty to animals after police say he shot his girlfriend's pet turtle. Steven Richard, 31, reportedly used a BB gun to shoot the turtle in the head Friday night outside a home on Pawtucket Avenue. Police responded to the home just after 8 p.m. when a neighbor reported an argument between Richard and the woman who lives there.
  • Man dies trapped in elevator shaft

    Man dies trapped in elevator shaft

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:06 AM EDT2014-07-28 12:06:40 GMT
    New York City NewsNew York City News
    A man died after becoming trapped between an elevator shaft and elevator car in the Bronx, said police. Police were called to 680 Tinton Ave. in The Bronx at about 3:55 a.m. on Monday. The man was found unconscious between the 18th and 19th floors. It is not clear how the man became trapped. A police investigation was underway. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
    A man died after becoming trapped between an elevator shaft and elevator car in the Bronx, said police. Police were called to 680 Tinton Ave. in The Bronx at about 3:55 a.m. on Monday. The man was found unconscious between the 18th and 19th floors. It is not clear how the man became trapped. A police investigation was underway. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Powered by WorldNow

4739 NW 53rd Avenue, Sutie B
Gainesville, FL 32653

Phone: (352) 371-0051

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices