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 Viral Videos

WATCH: Girls dive out of window in daring escape from fire

10-overlay

Two girls were trapped in a burning apartment, but thanks to the help of some alert neighbors they made it out alive.

in Music

Rolling Stones planning career xhibition

rollingstones

The veteran band will display dozens of items from their past, including instruments, personal diaries, and audio and video tracks for the special project, titled "Exhibitionism."

in Music

Sam Smith channels Elvis

samsmith

The "Stay With Me" hitmaker celebrated getting his singing voice back after vocal cord surgery by posting a video of him crooning an Elvis classic.

in Viral Videos

Alex Trebek raps the ‘Fresh Prince’ theme song on ‘Jeopardy!’

14-overlay

The "Jeopardy!" host has skills ... "smell ya later!"