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>>

  • New York's smallest piece of private land

    New York's smallest piece of private land

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-08-01 00:52:57 GMT
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
  • Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:26:44 GMT
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
  • Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:37:29 GMT
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
Powered by WorldNow
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