News

Judge overturns conviction of ‘cannibal cop’

Judge overturns conviction of ‘cannibal cop’

'CANNIBAL COP:'This undated file photo submitted into evidence by defense attorney Julia L. Gatto shows New York City police Officer Gilberto Valle. A federal judge, late Monday, overturned Valle's kidnapping conspiracy conviction. Photo: Associated Press

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former New York City police officer found guilty in March 2013 of plotting to kidnap, cook and eat women has had his conviction overturned by a federal judge, according to court documents.

A federal judge granted the acquittal of Gilberto Valle, dubbed the “cannibal cop” by the tabloid media, on the charge of conspiracy to kidnap, in a decision reached on Monday and scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday. He was awaiting sentencing.

“The evidentiary record is such that it is more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about kidnapping are fantasy role-play,” U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan wrote in the 118-page opinion.

The trial brought to light a macabre cyberspace community where millions of people discuss and exchange images and video of extraordinary brutality, much of it staged.

Federal public defenders had asked Gardephe to grant Valle a new trial, arguing the U.S. Constitution grants people the right to fantasize, free from government interference.

Gardephe upheld Valle’s conviction on a lesser charge of improperly accessing a law enforcement database, which prosecutors said he used to help find his intended victim. That charge carries a sentence up to one year in prison.

Prosecutors said Valle crossed the line from fantasy to reality by taking specific action in conspiring to kidnap women. Valle’s attorney had argued that he was merely engaged in online fantasy role playing.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson and Jon Stempel; Editing by Bill Trott)

Recent Headlines

in Local

City Council Green Lights Magro’s off Stevenson Dr.

municipalcenter

Aldermen approved the variance on a 9-1 vote, Ward 3 Alderman Doris Turner was the lone no vote.

in Local

Eastbound Monroe St. Reduced by Capitol

road construction

Public Works says multiple service valves have broken and they need to be repaired.

in Local

Portions of Chatham Under Boil Order

water

Residents and businesses in the area on West Walnut St. from Route 4 to College might experience low water pressure or no water pressure at all.

in Election 2014, Local

Barr, Regan Agree to Sheriff’s Race Debate on WTAX Oct. 31

sangamon county sheriff

The two candidates have sparred back and forth in recent weeks through press releases and, in some cases, have cancelled other debates due to perceived hostilities.