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 Entertainment, Sports

Chocolate maker trolls Patriots with ‘deflated football’ candy

sarrischocolate

The chocolate football with a big dent in its side is good enough to (ch)eat!

in National, World

Bill would grant war powers to fight Islamic State militants

islamicstate

The top Democrat on the House intelligence panel is introducing a bill to authorize war against ISIS.

in National

Nissan, Ford issue recalls

ford

More than a million cars, vans, and SUVs are being recalled to fix seat belt and other problems.

in National

How much snow fell vs. how much was forecast

AP65383268291_1

Meteorologists have been getting a lot of grief for their overzealous snow forecasts but they didn't get it all wrong.

in Lifestyle

Snapchat adds news, entertainment to its messaging service

snapchat

Snapchat has partnered with CNN, ESPN and others to compete with Facebook and Twitter.