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 Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

Fresh
floridastate

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP611561881101

A look at some of the biggest plays and best wins that happened this week in sports.

in Sports

Rice wins appeal, ‘suspension vacated’

Fresh
FILE - In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. A new video that appears to show Ray Rice striking then-fiance Janay Palmer in an elevator last February has been released on a website.

Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL, which has been "vacated immediately," the players' union said Friday.

in Sports

Thunder G Westbrook to return Friday night

Fresh
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook smiles as he answers a question during a news conference during media day for the NBA basketball team in Oklahoma City, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.

The Thunder say point guard Russell Westbrook will return to action Friday night against the New York Knicks.

in Sports

Lions, Eagles, Seahawks have triumphant turkey day

lions

Philadelphia and Detroit both served up Thanksgiving Day routs while Seattle boosted their playoff hopes.

Bellingham Traffic