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

19 mins ago in Music

Lemmy to be immortalized outside his favorite bar

Fresh
lemmy

A fundraising campaign is underway to pay for a life-sized Lemmy statue at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in L.A.

3 hours ago in Viral Videos

Elton John carpool karaoke

19-overlay

James Corden asks Elton John to help him navigate Los Angeles on a rainy day.

4 hours ago in Music

Metallica isn’t holding their breath for a Super Bowl invitation

metallicahetfield

The band says have their doubts that they'd ever be asked to do the Super Bowl halftime show.

6 hours ago in Music

Stone Temple Pilots to open auditions for new frontman

chesterbennington

The rockers have now launched a new search for a frontman, and they will be holding open auditions to find a band member to "evolve" with.

6 hours ago in Music

Wes Scantlin pleads not guilty to vandalism

wesscantlin

He faces up to three years in jail if convicted.