Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge overturns conviction in cannibal case and frees ex-officer

NEW YORK — A former New York Police Department officer left jail on Tuesday after a judge stunned prosecutors and overturned his conviction in a sensational case accusing him of plotting on the Internet to kidnap, kill and eat young women, including his wife.

Judge Paul Gardephe ruled late Monday that there was insufficient evidence to support a jury's guilty verdict in the kidnapping conspiracy conviction of Gilberto Valle. The judge agreed with defense arguments that the defendant's bizarre exchanges in fetish chat rooms about cannibalizing women never put anyone in danger.

Valle's "depraved, misogynistic sexual fantasies about his wife, former college classmates and acquaintances undoubtedly reflected a mind diseased," the judge wrote. But, he added, prosecutors failed to prove he had entered into genuine agreements to kidnap the women and taken concrete steps to carry them out.

At a hearing Tuesday before his release, Valle — dubbed the "Cannibal Cop" by the tabloids — smiled at his family and hugged his attorneys. He later told reporters he was eager to go home after spending more than 20 months behind bars.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone I hurt, shocked and offended with my infantile behavior," he said. He also thanked his family and fellow inmates at a federal lockup for helping him endure an "impossible situation."

Prosecutors will appeal. "The government believes the jury got it right," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman.

Valle, 40, was arrested in 2012 after his wife discovered disturbing material on his computer and reported it to the FBI. He was convicted in 2013 on the conspiracy charge — which carries a possible life term — and a misdemeanor count of illegally accessing a law enforcement database.

With mother Elizabeth Valle by his side, Gilberto Valle apologized about his “infantile behavior” in engaging in web chats about kidnapping and eating young women.

Associated Press

With mother Elizabeth Valle by his side, Gilberto Valle apologized about his “infantile behavior” in engaging in web chats about kidnapping and eating young women.

Judge overturns conviction in cannibal case and frees ex-officer 07/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.