2015-05-20 / Front Page

Appeals Panel Debates Cannibal Cop’s Fate

By Liz Goff
A panel of three federal judges is debating whether or not the fantasies expressed by former, disgraced NYPD Officer Gilberto Valle are enough to send him back to prison.

Valle, a nine-year NYPD veteran cop was arrested by the 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, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors said Valle plotted with three men online to hunt down their prey, torture, rape and cook them in an oven.

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) who took Valle into custody feared that he was planning to carry out the plan “very soon,” law enforcement sources said.

A criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court at the time of his arrest 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.

Valle was convicted of numerous federal charges and spent 21 months behind bars before hiss sentence was overturned in 2014, by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Paul Gardephe, who ruled “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.”

Federal prosecutors from New York’s Eastern District appealed Gardephe’s decision to overturn Valle’s conviction, arguing that Valle’s fantasies could have led to a series of violent actions.

The appeals panel appears divided over the validity of Valle’s “fantasies,” law enforcement sources said. Judge Chester Straub challenged Valle’s attorney’s during a May 12 court hearing, arguing that the fantasies Valle expressed in his online chats could eventually become real to him.

Prosecutors argued that point at trial, presenting evidence that Valle had visited one of his potential victims at her Maryland workplace, and he had researched online where and how to purchase chloroform.

Another member of the panel compared Valle’s kidnapping and conspiracy conviction to a plot involving “cocaine purchased from the moon by a leprechaun.”

The appeals panel is expected to continue debate on the true context of Valle’s fantasies for several weeks before they make a ruling, law enforcement sources said.

Valle is facing life in prison if the panel rules to reinstate his conviction on conspiracy to murder.

 

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