The trial of a former New York City Police officer accused of plotting to kidnap, murder and then devour his female victims began on Monday in a Manhattan federal courtroom, according to a federal law enforcement officials.
The 28-year-old police officer planned to commit the kidnappings and murders with a person he met on the Internet. His online contact then warned the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the plot. Valle is also accused of illegally accessing a law enforcement database as part of his plot.
Valle, who lived in Queens County, was suspended from the NYPD by his precinct's commanding officer just before he was arrested by FBI agents, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Valle is accused of planning to abduct up to 100 women. The criminal complaint alleges that Valle began plotting his violent crime wave around January 2012, but that no women were harmed by the rogue cop.
Valle is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Valle is also charged with one count of intentionally and knowingly accessing a computer without authorization and exceeding his authorized access and thereby obtaining information from a department and agency of the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
During a press conference at 26 Federal Plaza, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Gilberto Valle's alleged plans to kidnap women so that they could be raped, tortured, killed, cooked, and cannibalized shocks the conscience. This case is all the more disturbing when you consider Valle's position as a New York City Police officer and his sworn duty to serve and protect."
Valle's defense attorney, Julia Gatto, is arguing that her client never actually intended to kidnap anyone. She stated, “You can’t convict people for their thoughts, even if they’re sick.”
Gatto previously defended the Times Square terrorist suspect Faisal Shahzad in 2010, and is considered one of the Big Apple's top criminal lawyers.
The criminal complaint claims that on July 22, Valle communicated with a co-conspirator using an Instant Messaging (IM) program to discuss kidnapping, cooking and eating body parts of one woman.
They also allegedly discussed where to find a recipe for chloroform. During this time period, Valle also created a document entitled "Abducting and Cooking [Victim]: a Blueprint." The document contains pedigree information about the woman -- including her name, date of birth, height, weight, and bra size. The document also contains a section called "Materials Needed."
The FBI searched Valle's computer and say he had created files pertaining to at least 100 women and had at least one photo of each of the women. The majority of the women were listed by their first and last names.
The complaint claims that Valle used the databases to locate potential victims, spy on them at their homes and workplaces, drafted an "operation plan" to abduct and "cook" a woman, and researched methods of disabling and drugging women.
The FBI says it interviewed ten of the women on in the files and confirmed that they all knew Valle.
Wife's Shocking Testimony
One of the prosecution's key witnesses is Valle's own spouse and she was the first one called to give testimony.
Police officer Valle's wife, Kathleen, was described as struggling to maintain her composure Monday as she told the jury about the online Instant Messages (IMs) and other evidence on Valle's desktop computer that revealed he had discussed killing his wife and then kidnapping, torturing and eating other women.
“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,” Kathleen Mangan-Valle told the jury.
The 27-year-old Kathleen also read of a plot to put a friend in a suitcase, wheel her out of her building and murder her. Two other women were “going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears,” while another was going to be roasted alive over an open fire, she told the court.
Valle's trial is expected to last two weeks.