Thursday marked the end of legal arguments in the court case of 28-year-old NYPD Police Officer Gilbert Valle. The defendant stands accused of plotting the torturing, murdering, raping, and eating of several women he allegedly targeted in New York City.
The so-called “NYPD Cannibal” could face serious time behind bars for thousands of conversations with other self-described cannibals. In these conversations he purportedly discussed the means of engaging in such acts while at the same time he researched slaughtering and drugging techniques. Deliberations are now underway to decide whether Valle did indeed break the law in pursuit of his fantasies.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman told a Manhattan jury Valle was in the midst of a plot to “kidnap, torture, rape and commit other horrific acts” on at least six women he knew, including his wife. In closing arguments at Valle’s kidnapping conspiracy trial Waxman said, “The law does not require that we wait until he carries out his crime.”
Prosecutor Randall Jackson told the jury, “This is a man who had a deep-seated desire to harm women and the evidence suggests he had a plan to do that.”
“We’re talking about a man, entrusted to walk the city streets with a loaded weapon, who is stimulated by the thought of a woman sexually assaulted and executed,” the prosecution argued in its closing statement.
Valle reportedly had thousands of online chats with so-called “cannibal cohorts” about certain women who were targeted for kidnapping, torture and cannibalism. Valle’s own wife was described as on the list.
Prosecutors argued, “The purpose [of the chats] is to get advice on how to do this. And that’s a criminal conspiracy.”
All kinds of fetishists fantasize and engage in conversations that flirt closely with the lines of the law, defining what goes too far, becoming increasingly difficult to discern. Valle’s attorneys have vehemently argued that while Valle’s actions are admittedly dark and ruined his life, they do not justify his spending any time behind bars. Even with the sordid details that can be found in some online fantasies, however, few ever go as in-depth as Valle has done.
Sexual fetishes are nothing new, and the range of fetishist avenues on the Internet is vast. Fetishist online communities are generally very open and accepting of all walks of life. Members of fetish sites like FetLife.com run the gamut from sadomasochists to furries to pirates. Legal lines of distinction are the only criteria by which members might be excluded from their ranks.
It is not uncommon on the Internet to find members of these online communities exploring rape or incest fantasies, for example. Many fetish writers can be found describing acts that, had they occurred in real life, would land any perpetrator of such things in prison.
Valle’s case may be more clear cut, however. Legal experts seem to agree that Valle will be going to prison for his actions. He used police databases to stalk his potential victims. Prosecutors have names, methods, cohorts, and a slew of other evidence on which to argue for the conviction of Valle on conspiracy charges. He is said to have sat down to brunch with a fellow cannibal he met online, offering up his wife.
The FBI asserts Valle looked up recipes for chloroform; created a computer document entitled “Abducting and Cooking [name withheld]: a Blueprint”, which listed several “materials needed”, including a rope; negotiated prices online; bemoaned the difficulty of dislocating a woman’s jaw; and mused over the size of his oven and his “favorite cut of meat”. Valle is also said to have looked up personal details of one intended victim in the National Crime Information Center database — an improper use of his law-enforcement privileges for which he is also under indictment.
Valle carried out the described online activities while still an NYPD officer.