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 Lifestyle

Healthy lunches could land you in the White House

The North Lawn of the White House, on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 in Washington.

If you know of a kid who can whip up a healthy lunch, they might earn a trip to the White House.

in Sports, Viral Videos

WATCH: Puppies predict the Final Four

16-overlay

It's a totally unscientific, but completely adorable, way to predict the winner of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

in National

Arkansas governor urges changes to ‘religious objection’ bill

arkansasreligiousobjections

The religious-objection laws have sparked fears that they could allow discrimination.

in Sports

Winston impressed on Seminoles Pro Day

jameiswinston

The Seminoles QB put on a show for NFL coaches and scouts assembled for Florida State Pro Day.

in Sports

Wednesday’s Sports Minute

NETS

A look at some of the big sports stories making headlines today, Wednesday, April 1. STREAKING NETS HANG ONTO FINAL…