The case against an NYPD officer accused of planning to kill and eat multiple women is ramping up in New York this week. Officer Gilberto Valle was arrested this fall after extensive online communications were uncovered that seemingly outline sadistic plans to kidnap, rape, torture and cannibalize a number of specifically identified women.
The defense is arguing that the communications amount to little more than fantasies that Valle had no intention of ever realizing, and that tens of thousands of people around the world participate in such fetish websites without ever harming anyone. Defense Attorney Julia Gatto told the court on Monday that the prosecution is just “throwing darts in the air” in attempt to shore up what she argues is a crumbling case.
The dart in question is fresh evidence that Valle used his cellphone near a high school attended by one of the alleged intended victims. The prosecution is using this and other evidence to attempt to prove that Valle was conducting surveillance on the women. Such surveillance would add evidentiary weight to the prosecution’s picture of Valle as a predator waiting for the right moment to strike.
Prosecutors have been quick to dismiss Gatto’s claims that the evidence is flimsy or that it forms the foundation of the prosecution’s case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jackson Randall Jackson pointed out that the bulk of the prosecution’s evidence is actually constituted by extensive logs of Valle’s online communications with his co-conspirators.
Valle is charged with conspiracy to kidnap and take information illegally from a national crime database. A New Jersey man connected with the case is being tried separately.