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

Iowa Unemployment Drops

employment help wanted

The state unemployment rate in Iowa dropped in December, and a spokesperson for Iowa Workforce Development says the state is getting close to "full employment."

in Local

Bill Seeks To Prevent Wage Theft

Iowa state capital

Four Iowans who say they've been the victims of wage theft testified at the statehouse Tuesday, part of an effort by Senate Democrats to build support for a bill that would require businesses to provide employees with a written record of how they're to be paid.

in Local

Nebraska Concerned About Possible Measles Outbreak

Medical Stethoscope

Nebraska health officials express concern that a measles outbrak that began in Disneyland could spread throughout the country.

in Local

Resolution Would Demand End To US Department Of Education

state capitol pierre

The South Dakota House debated a resolution yesterday calling for the abolition of the US Department of Education.

in Local

River Levels Low

mo river 51412

Levels on area rivers are very low at the moment, just weeks before the first official flood predictions of the late winter.