New York News
Cannibal cop Gilberto Valle found guilty on all counts
NEW YORK -- A jury reached a verdict Tuesday in the case of a New York City police officer accused of plotting to abduct and cannibalize women.
This stunning victory for federal prosecutors came as a shock to others. A jury found this former NYPD officers' actions were no fantasy.
"We're disappointed. We think the jury just, just was unable to get past the thoughts. The thoughts were so bizarre," defense attorney Julia Gatto said.
Officer Gilberto Valle, 28, was found guilty on all charges that he conspired to kill and eat women he knew, including his wife, to dine on their "girl meat" - a macabre case that subjected jurors to often gory evidence and asked them to separate fantasy from reality.
"Today, a unanimous jury found that Gilberto Valle's detailed and specific plans to abduct women for the purpose of committing grotesque crimes were very real, and that he was guilty as charged," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
The former NYPD officer showed little emotion as the jury foreman read the verdict. He then hugged his attorney who, along with others, vigorously challenged the governments' case.
"I think this is a dangerous prosecution when we start opening our minds and prosecuting what's inside our brains and not in the real world," Gatto said.
In a much different world, the internet based darkfetishnet.com, is where prosecutors claim Valle shared bizarre chats with three co-conspirators and plotting to kidnap, torture, kill and then cannibalize women.
Five were potential targets, including Valle's wife Kathleen Managan, who testified against her husband.
The U.S. Attorney, defending the prosecution, said, "The internet is a forum for the free exchange of ideas, but it does not confer immunity for plotting crimes and taking steps to carry out those crimes."
Valle's mother and father, who both attended the trial each day, appeared stunned by the verdict. Outside they hurried away from the courthouse without comment.
"I'm in shock and want to be left alone," his mother, Elizabeth, said.
Valle's attorneys tried to convince the jury that his actions were all a fantasy, "a sick, twisted, ugly fantasy" of role playing and that the talk was not meant to be carried out. Some wonder if Valle should have testified.
"He could have told them that with his own mouth and the jury might have enjoyed listening to him and it might have humanized him," former prosecutor Bruce Klang said.
The jury, which deliberated for just over two days, heard Valle's potential victims testify that they were trading innocent-sounding emails and texts with him, unaware he was supposedly scheming to make meals out of them. The government also sought to drive home the point that Valle was more of a threat because he was a police officer.
Defense attorneys are planning to appeal.
"Our defense team has always thought that there's is a larger principle involved in this case and i think it creates a very dangerous precedent," attorney Robert Baum said.
Valle faces life in prison when he is sentenced on June 19.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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