COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)– Conviction overturned. A former police officer is acquitted in a bizarre case, where he was accused of plotting to kidnap, kill and eat young women. His lawyers argued those plots were just fantasies, and no one was ever in danger.
Christie Ileto explains the potential victims included former classmates at the University of Maryland.
Coined the “cannibal cop” by media, University of Maryland graduate turned New York City police officer–before being fired– Gilberto Valle is now a free man.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who’s been hurt, shocked and offended by my infantile actions,” Valle said.
A federal judge threw out his 2013 kidnapping conspiracy conviction because of insufficient evidence, saying his online chats about plotting to kidnap, kill and eat women were nothing more than chats.
Valle was facing life in prison for the conspiracy charge after his wife discovered disturbing material on his computer — before turning him into the FBI.
In evidence was this conversation with a co-conspirator:
Co-conspirator: “How big is your oven?”
Valle: “Big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs.”
Valle graduated from the University of Maryland in 2006, and police say at least two of his potential victims went to school there as well and were friends with his then wife.
“In order to prove conspiracy you have to prove an agreement between two or more people,” said Byron Warnken, University of Baltimore law professor.
Federal prosecutors argue Valle took steps to further his plans.
“I think what the judge is saying is that ‘this guy’s awfully weird, but I don’t see evidence that this guy entered into an agreement to do this stuff,’” Warnken said.
For Valle’s family, Tuesday means vindication.
“My family from day one, their support never wavered. I really needed that, more than anyone will ever know,” Valle said.
Prosecutors vow to appeal.
Valle is awaiting sentencing on a misdemeanor charge. He’s accused of using a police database to look up potential victims.
The New York City Police Department fired Valle after his 2013 conviction.
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