The so-called Cannibal Cop, former NYPD officer Gilberto Valle of Forest Hills, was let out of jail Tuesday after his conviction for plotting to kidnap, torture, kill and eat young women was overturned.
Valle, 30, had been locked up since his October 2012 arrest in the alleged plot he admitted discussing with people online but insisted was just a fantasy he never intended to carry out. He faced life in prison.
Though a federal jury convicted him in March 2013 of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and another charge related to his use of a law enforcement computer to get information on apparent targets, the judge on the case determined that he most likely was not serious about doing it.
“The evidentiary record is such that it is more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about the kidnapping are fantasy role-play,” Judge Paul Gardephe wrote in his ruling, news reports said. “No real-world, non-Internet based steps were ever taken to kidnap anyone.”
Valle had, however, met one woman for lunch after telling an online contact that he planned to do that ahead of kidnapping her, afterward telling the person that she looked delicious. He also had compiled a list of things he would need to carry out the crime, including chloroform and rope.
Valle was released on $100,000 bond and ordered to stay at his mother’s home in Middle Village, media reports said. He has to stay off computers, undergo mental health treatment and not go near the women he had talked about attacking, they said.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone who has been hurt, shocked or offended by my infantile actions,” Valle said outside the courthouse, the reports said.
He also thanked his family, his attorneys and the staff and inmates at the Manhattan jail where he had been held, according to the reports, also declaring that he loves his cellmates and will never forget them.
Valle’s ideas were brought to the attention of law enforcement by his then-wife, who found files about herself and other women on his computer. She left him and the NYPD fired him. He had worked in Manhattan.
His mother was thrilled at his release and said she would make him his favorite meal, Spanish meat pies called pastellas.
Prosecutors said they would appeal the judge’s ruling.