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

Group Recommends More Medical Marijuana Treatments

Fresh
marijuana

If you suffer from anxiety or diabetes, medical marijuana won't be for you.

in Local

New Head of Illinois State Fair, DuQuoin State Fair

Fresh
state fair logo

There's a new head of both the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair.

in Local

U of I Faculty Concerned About Background Checks

Fresh
university illinois

Faculty members at the University of Illinois are concerned about a new policy expanding employee background checks.

in Local

Madigan Files Suit Over Student Loan Scams

Fresh
Lisa Madigan

Madigan's office says the companies violate Illinois law by charging upfront fees to settle debts.

in Local

Lawmakers Hear About Gambling Expansion

Fresh
video gambling

Illinois lawmakers are hearing from gambling officials who say expansion is a good thing.