Jury Hears Opening Arguments In ‘Cannibal Cop’ Case
Opening statements were presented this week in Manhattan Federal Court in the trial of NYPD “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle, who was arrested by federal agents in October 2012 and charged with plotting to “kidnap, rape, torture, cook and cannibalize” up to 100 women in a bizarre plot uncovered by his wife.
Officer Gilberto Valle III, 28, plotted with three men online to hunt down their prey, torture, rape and cook them in an oven, federal prosecutors said.
In one of the most bizarre and disturbing arrests of a police officer in New York City, agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took Valle into custody on October 24, fearing that he was planning to carry out the plan “very soon,” law enforcement sources said.
A criminal complaint states that Valle, who worked at the 26th Precinct in Manhattan and lived in a stately hi-rise on Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills, did not follow through on any of the killing culinary acts he is accused of discussing online.
Federal prosecutor Hadassa Waxman said Valle “had communicated with three co-conspirators about his plans to commit a crime and at one point used a police car while dressed in uniform to conduct surveillance of a woman, who he approached in an intimidating fashion.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Valle’s “alleged plans to kidnap women so that they could be raped, tortured, killed, cooked and cannibalized shock the conscience.”
Valle was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pittman, charged with conspiring to kidnap, torture and cook women and with illegally accessing the National Crime Information Database to research one of his targeted victims.
Authorities said that on July 22, Valle contacted a woman he was planning to kidnap and eat – and invited her to lunch at a city restaurant. The unsuspecting woman accepted the invitation.
Valle then allegedly told his co-conspirators that he would provide a woman to one of them, planning to use her as a “sex slave,” Waxman said.
Pittman denied bail for Valle and cited the federal complaint that described Valle as “profoundly disturbing” with “unspeakable conduct.”
“I have never seen allegations similar to these in 10 years on the bench and five years as a prosecutor,” Pittman said.
Valle attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, where he played baseball with the Mets Mike Baxter. He graduated from the University of Maryland. He joined the NYPD six years ago and has been described as an “average cop” in his assignment at the 26th Precinct.
Law enforcement sources said Valle’s wife went to authorities when she discovered his plan last month on her laptop, which he used after his own computer crashed.
“When she saw what he wrote on her computer, she ran out of the house with just the clothes she was wearing,” a law enforcement source said. “She took their baby and ran back home to her native Reno, Nevada,” the source said.
Once there, she contacted the FBI and gave them her laptop, the source said.
Defense attorneys motioned last week to stop prosecutors from using conversations and e-mails between Valle and his wife as evidence in the trial. The defense attorneys argued that the conversations are privileged communication between husband and wife – and thereby should not be allowed as evidence of Valle’s guilt.
Valle was suspended without pay by the NYPD immediately after his arrest. He has remained in jail since his arrest, despite numerous attempts by his lawyers to have him released on bail.
Valle’s attorney said his client was “just engaging in idle talk” online, describing his conversations as “fantasies” that he never intended to carry out.
Valle is facing life in federal prison, if convicted.