Gilberto Valle, a police officer with the NYPD was charged in New York in October 2012 with plotting to kidnap, rape, torture, cook, kill and then eat as many as 100 women. He had the women’s names, addresses and photographs catalogued on his home computer. In March 2013, the notorious “Cannibal Cop” was found guilty by a jury and convicted in a Manhattan courtroom on those charges.
On June 30, federal judge Paul Gardephe overturned the cannibal cop’s conviction citing insufficient evidence. Valle was looking at life in prison before the judge acquitted him of his most serious charges of kidnapping conspiracy, according to Fox News.
Throughout his trial, Valle’s defense argued that the evidence against his client simply represented the former cop’s dark and deranged fantasies, and that Valle never meant to actually carry out those fantasies. A jury thought otherwise when they convicted him.
Prosecutors in the case against Valle tried to prove that the cannibal cop had already begun the preliminary steps of carrying out his schemes against his intended victims by “looking up potential targets on a restricted law enforcement database, searching the Internet for how to knock someone out with chloroform and where to get torture devices and other tools.” But in his 118-page opinion paper, the judge wrote:
"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."
Not all of Valle’s convictions were tossed though. The judge upheld his guilty conviction on one count of illegally gaining access to the law enforcement database. That charge carries a max sentence of one year behind bars. Valle, 30 years old and a six-year veteran with the NYPD, was fired following his conviction of illegally using the law enforcement database, according to USA Today.
Valle and his wife, Kathleen Mangan-Valle, separated after she discovered “online chats and other evidence on his computer showing he had discussed killing her and abducting, torturing and eating other women.” The then 27-year-old estranged wife testified at his trial, saying "I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit, and they would have fun watching the blood gush out of me because I was young."
Valle was freed from prison on Tuesday, July 1. For more on Valle’s overturned conviction, see the video accompanying this article.