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 Black Friday, National

PHOTOS: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

AP353037153391_2

The 88th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade stepped off in NYC, officially ushering in the holiday season.

in National

Thanksgiving grease cooks up plumbing disasters

turkey

Thanksgiving is a royal pain in the U.S. drain.

in National

Ebola survivors thankful for ‘second chance’

ebola

Six of the nine Ebola patients treated in the U.S. met for the first time.

in National

Thanksgiving travel at a 7-year high

gas

More than 46 million Americans are expected to travel over the holiday weekend.

in Black Friday, National

History of the holiday: Thanksgiving

14-overlay1

Thanksgiving celebrations date back to the first European settlements in America, but it wasn't until the 1860s that it was declared a national holiday.