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The NYPD's "cannibal cop" has been found guilty of conspiracy. A New York jury convicted Gilberto Valle on all charges Tuesday. He now could face life in prison for his crimes.
Valle was accused of hatching a plan to kidnap, kill, and eat several women including his wife. His plot was ultimately uncovered by his wife who tracked his suspicious activity online, reports the New York Post.
Valle, 28, allegedly shared his very dark fantasies in an online forum. His sentencing hearing is set for June.
In his defense, "cannibal cop" Gilberto Valle's attorneys had argued he was simply engaging in dark and twisted fantasies on the Internet. Valle, a police officer for six years, had no intentions of hurting or killing anyone, his lawyers said.
But prosecutors insisted that Valle's Internet activity constituted the plotting of a crime. Valle's communications with other fetishists around the world was a real step toward acting on his fantasies, and he was not simply sharing his perversions with others, prosecutors said. Jurors apparently agreed.
Valle's defense team has already indicated that it will ask the judge to set aside the verdicts at his sentencing hearing in June. His lawyers have also vowed to appeal.
On appeal, a court could reconsider whether the evidence supports the jury's finding that Valle took enough concrete action for his fantasy to become a real criminal conspiracy. Generally, it is legal for someone to fantasize about whatever he wants. This can include murders, assault, and even cannibalism. However, when the individual takes some overt act to turn his fantasy into reality, it then becomes an illegal criminal plot.
It may be a question on appeal whether communicating with other like-minded fetishists online should be enough to prove a criminal conspiracy. Until then, convicted "cannibal cop" Gilberto Valle will remain behind bars.