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

Education To Be Legislative Session

education 2

There will be a number of education related issues in the 2015 session of the South Dakota legislature, and not all are related to funding.

in Local

Corrections On Nebraska Senate Agenda

Tyson Larson Photo 1 021514

The next session of the Nebraska Unicameral will be asked to help clean up continuing issues in the state Department of Corrections.

in Local

Legislators Prepare For Session

state capitol pierre

South Dakota legislators are making preparations for what could be a fully packed legislative session starting next month.

in Local

Use Tax Due

money 20

The Christmas shopping season will soon wind down, and with lots of shopping done online, the South Dakota Department of Revenue is reminding residents that a ‘use tax’ may be due on purchases made on the internet.

in Local

Donated Toys To Be Distributed

christmas lights

Feeding South Dakota has teamed up with Good 360 to handle a truckload of toys that has been donated by a manufacturer.