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

Bill Approved to Address Elderly Abuse

state capitol pierre

The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee approved a bill (Friday) that would set up an elder abuse task force in the state.

in Local

Thune Offers Alternative To FCC Net Regulations

John Thune 913

The Federal Communication Commission voted three to two to issue new rules that would attempt to regulate the operations of the internet.

in Local

Positives Seen In New Internet rules

http internet

The Federal Communications Commission has passed new rules that seek to put some regulations on the internet.

in Local

Loophole In Iowa’s Underage Drinking Law

Iowa state capital

For the third year in a row prosecutors are urging legislators to deal with an "oops" in Iowa's underage drinking law.

in Local

Speed Limit Increase Clears Committee

speed limit

A bill that would raise the speed limit to 75 miles an hour on many miles of interstate highways in Iowa has cleared its first hurdle in the state senate.