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)

What's Hot on STAR

Ken, Colleen, & Kurt’s I-Cubs to the Rescue

icubs-rescue-16-FI

Your kid’s Little League team could get some professional help from an Iowa Cubs player.

Winefest 2016

Winefest_DL

Winefest is an 8 day festival with educational sessions, pairing dinners, and large tasting events.

CelebrAsian

celebrasian

Check out the 14th Annual Asian Heritage Festival this Friday and Saturday!

STAR 102.5’s Grand Gas Giveaway

grandgasgiveaway-FI

Crack the code and win $1,000 in gas

What’s On Tap

whatsontap-FI

Find out where the cool places are to be this week. Presented by Bud Light.

Hire Me Iowa

HireMeIowa_620x400_final

Looking for a job around the Des Moines area? Check out our current job listings here.

Recent Headlines

57 mins ago in Entertainment

Running Man dance craze sweeps police departments across U.S.

Fresh
21-overlay-13

Police officers across the U.S. are dancing an updated version of the running man to a catchy 1990s hip hop song in videos that are gaining wide online popularity.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

National Spelling Bee ends in its unlikeliest tie to date

Fresh
16-overlay-11

Nihar Janga looked like the strongest speller at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and perhaps the best ever. And he's only 11 years old.