Gilberto Valle, known in tabloids as the "Cannibal Cop", is a former NYPD officer convicted of attempting to kidnap, murder and eat dozens of women, including his own wife. Valle was convicted in March of 2013, but had not yet been sentenced. He was awaiting sentencing in prison, where he has spent 21 months, seven of which were in solitary confinement.
But Valle's conviction has been overturned and he is now free on bond, released into his mother's custody, wearing an ankle bracelet tracker.
Judge Paul Gardephe said that Valle's conviction, though it seemed fitting for a man who was alleged to be planning such horrid crimes, was all a mistake.
"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," Gardephe said.
Valle apparently was talking with fetishists online about the grisly plans. He says he never really had any intent of doing any of it, but was just talking fantasies with others, which is not illegal.
But prosecutors say there was more to Valle's interests than just talking smack with other weirdos. They say he looked up targets in police databases. They say he researched information on how to knock someone out with chloroform.
They even found a particular passage among his chat room transcripts: "I want her to experience being cooked alive. She'll be trussed up like a turkey. ... She'll be terrified, screaming and crying."
— Jeff Loomis (@Loomis_Sunshine) July 2, 2014
After his release, Valle had a statement.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone who has been hurt, shocked and offended by my infantile actions,” Valle said. He also thanked his family and even his fellow inmates for helping him through his ordeal.
Prosecutors say they will fight the overturn. They believe Valle is a dangerous man who was planning to hurt people. Valle's attorneys say otherwise. They say it was all in his head, and not meant to become reality.
"We don't put people in jail for their thoughts," said one attorney. "We are not the thought police."
— Paul Davner (@PaulDavner) July 2, 2014
Image via YouTube