Written by: Eight
The alleged ‘Cannibal Cop’ was released from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, after serving time for a crime he did not commit.
Gilberto Valle, a 30 year old former NYPD officer was arrested in 2012, as his ex-wife Kathleen Mangan found disturbing images and conversations Valle had in a fetish website called DarkFetishNet.com.
Valle shared sinister conversations with a man, where he expressed his so called
‘cannibal fetish’. Valle said “[he] want[ed] her to experience being cooked alive…” (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014) as well as saying “She’ll be trussed up like a turkey … terrified, screaming and crying.” (Ibid)
|“The men even discussed basting a woman in olive oil and then cooking her over an open fire.”
(Beekman and Gregorian, 2014)
In addition, Valle illegally accessed the law enforcement database, searching for who were believed to be potential victims. As well as searching for torture based instruments online. This lead Prosecutors to think he went too far, and agreeing with Valle’s arrest, due to the fact that he could be a potential threat to the community, as they wanted “to ensure the safety of the community and the target victims.” (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014) Even though there was no hard evidence to prove he actually committed a crime, he illegally accessed the NYPD database for personal use.
Consequently, the jury convicted him in 2013 for plotting to kidnap, kill and eat women.
On appeal, in what was described as a “courageous decision” made by Judge Gardephe, who held that there was insufficient evidence for his conviction in 2012 and thus released him on a bail with conditions including a $100,000 bond, home detention, deprivation of computers, attending a health treatment as well as staying away from the potential victims.
Furthermore, Garderphe stated that Valle did not take any ‘real-life’ step to kidnapping anyone, but merely fantasized about it on the Internet. Therefore, “the judge upheld Valle’s conviction on a charge of using the law enforcement database illegally. The count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and Valle has yet to be sentenced for the crime, but he’s already served more than a year of hard time.” (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014)
Valle’s defense lawyer Julia Gatto responded by saying:
“Gil Valle is innocent of any conspiracy. Gil is guilty of nothing more than having unconventional thoughts. But we don’t convict people, take away their liberty and imprison them for their thoughts” (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014) as well as expressing her relief towards Garderphe’s decision, for “upholding the awesome and fundamental legal principles at stake here, including our core freedom to be able to think what we want free of government intrusion.” (Ibid)
The Manhattan Federal Court released Valle on Tuesday, 1st July 2014, (Weiser, 2014) under his mother’s custody, after serving 21 months of time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
|“The judge’s well-reasoned decision validates what we have said since the beginning: There was no crime”
– Julia Gatto
(Beekman and Gregorian, 2014)
His mother, Elizabeth Valle expressed her happiness, by saying that her prayers had been heard, as well as saying that “He’s not the monster they portray him to be,” (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014) and that “the only thing he’s guilty of is being stupid enough to be on that website.” (Ibid) His mother also said that she regained faith on the “criminal justice system” (ibid), due to the judge’s decision on the appeal.
In addition, Gilberto Valle said he “… want[ed] to take the opportunity to apologize to everyone who’s been hurt, shocked and offended by [his] infantile actions”. (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014), not to mention that he expressed his love for his inmates, and said he would never forget them.
Furthermore, Gatto refused to comment on Valle’s family matters, as there have been inquiries regarding his ambiguous reemployment status and as to whether he will be able to see his six-year-old daughter again or not.
The Prosecution, however, is appealing Valle’s acquittal and he could face life imprisonment if the appeal would be allowed. Although, Julia Gatto is not concerned as she says there is insufficient evidence for the verdict to be reinstated. Nonetheless, Valle declared he regrets what he has done, and that “[he] just want[s] to go home and spend some time with [his] family,” (Beekman and Gregorian, 2014) in his mother’s house in Queens. In addition to eating homemade Spanish dishes, and playing with his dog, as a way to celebrate his freedom.
Beekman, D. and Gregorian, D. (2014). ‘Cannibal cop’ released into custody of his mother after conviction overturned in stunning reversal. New York Daily News. [online] Available at: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/conviction-cannibal-nypd-overturned-article-1.1850334 [Accessed 16 Nov. 2014].
Weiser, B. (2014). Ruling in Cannibal Case Revives Debate Over When a Fantasy Crosses a Criminal Line. The New York Times. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/nyregion/officer-gilberto-valle-freed-after-conviction-overturned-in-cannibal-case.html?_r=0 [Accessed 22 Nov. 2014].