NEW YORK – A New York City police officer was found guilty Tuesday of planning to kidnap and eat young women after a lurid trial that exposed an underground network of cannibal fantasists.
Gilberto Valle, 28, dubbed the “Cannibal Cop,” faces a possible life sentence after a sensational trial that transfixed the New York tabloid press as horrific details of the case emerged.
Valle’s lawyers argued that the policeman had merely been guilty of sick online fantasies as he scoured websites catering to the gruesome peccadillos of so-called death-porn enthusiasts.
Prosecutors, however, argued Valle had “crossed the line” from fantasy to reality and was actively planning to act out his online plot, even if no one was ever harmed.
Valle, whose wife was among the women he fantasized about killing and eating, will be sentenced on June 19 at the Manhattan federal court.
Valle visited websites dedicated to extreme sexual fantasies, and shared with other death-porn enthusiasts his plans to abduct women, boasting that he would torture, kill and eat them.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Valle — a six-year veteran of the New York Police Department — did more than just fantasize. An FBI agent testified that he found hundreds of downloaded pages about rape, torture and cannibalism on Valle’s computer. Valle had drawn up a detailed list of his potential victims — including friends and other acquaintances.
Valle’s wife, Kathleen Mangan-Valle, told the court she had found “thousands of emails” her husband exchanged with like-minded fetishists, and that he had shared photos of people they knew.
“Suddenly I was staring at pictures of me, at pictures of friends,” said Mangan-Valle, who eventually turned her husband over to the FBI.
“I was going to be tied up by my feet and my wrists and my throat slit and they were going to watch the blood drain out of me,” she said, discussing one plan for her that she found online.