It has been two years since a judge decided to drop charges against Gilberto Valle, better known as "Cannibal Cop," a former NYPD officer who was accused of conspiring to kill and potentially cook several women. Today, a federal appeals court voted 2-to-1 to uphold that decision.
“This is a case about the line between fantasy and criminal intent,” Judge Barrington Parker wrote. “Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime.”
Valle was convicted of the kidnapping conspiracy in March 2013, but the guilty verdict was overturned by a Manhattan federal judge in July of 2014, on the basis that it didn't appear that Valle intended to act on his fantasies.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Chester Straub argued that “the jury considered and rejected Valle’s defense that he was simply pretending to commit a crime.”
Valle was arrested in 2012, when the FBI discovered he was plotting, along with a few others, to kidnap women and eat them—but not before making them suffer. Here is an excerpt from Valle's online communication with a co-conspirator (at one point he asks, "How big is your oven?"):
"I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus&cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible." "I love that she is asleep right now not having the slightest clue of what we have planned. Her days are numbered. I'm glad you're on board. She does look tasty doesn't she?"
Valle was initially turned in by his wife, who discovered a "tactical plan" for "Abducting and Cooking" women on the home computer.