For a third day, a jury has deliberated over whether or no so called Cannibal Cop Gilberto Valle, 28, committed a felony crime when he made plans with other men online to kidnap, sexually torture, cook to death and eat women. There is still no verdict.
The six-year veteran NYPD officer has insisted all along that he had engaged in fantasy role play only. Prosecutors, by contrast, have argued that Valle’s plans were very real. The question is, did federal prosecutors prove their point beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt? The verdict will be the answer.
“We hope that the jury follows the law,” Julia Gatto, lead attorney for Valle, said late last week. “If they follw the law, they will return a not guilty verdict.”
As she pointed out, jurors are required by law to assume that Valle is innocent, unless the argument and evidence prosecutors put forth prove otherwise.
Among that evidence were unforgettable images, including a video of a woman chained by her bleeding wrists, screaming, while a digitally reproduced representation of a flame appears to burn her between her legs.
FBI agents, who admitted that the video was most likely staged, discovered it on one of two computers they seized from Valle’s home that he shared with his wife. She alerted investigators to his activities, thereby opening the criminal case against him.
The video was among hundreds of other disturbing images, including pictures of women who appear to be dead, women who appear to be burned at the stake, and women tied to spits waiting to apparently be cooked, to name a few.
There was even a detailed fact sheet titled, “Abducting and Cooking Kimberly — A Blueprint,” in which Valle compiled extensive facts about a female friend of his, including her personal contact information. But all of the information in the document, with the exception of the woman’s first name, was made up. It all supports Valle’s defense, that he was strictly engaged in extensive fantasy.
Valle’s publicly-funded federal defense lawyers strongly stand by their client, saying that he should not be convicted simply for having disturbing thoughts, none of which he acted on directly. “It’s an emotional case for us,” Gatto said. “This is the kind of case why you become a defense attorney. [It involves] the presumption of innocence and burden of proof, and we feel that the government has failed to meet their burden.”
In keeping with its established policy of not commenting on cases until a verdict has been reached, the U.S. Attorney’s office has made no comment regarding Valle’s trial.