Skip to main content

Trial of NY cop charged in alleged cannibalism plot nears jury

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
updated 9:58 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Gilberto Valle, 28, was arrested on October 24 and charged with conspiracy to kidnap a woman.
Gilberto Valle, 28, was arrested on October 24 and charged with conspiracy to kidnap a woman.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The jury in the trial of NY police officer Gilberto Valle could get the case Thursday
  • He is charged with conspiracy to kidnap in what prosecutors say was a cannibalism plot
  • Valle did not testify during the trial
  • A defense witness says his website of "dark fetishes" was for "fantasy only"

New York (CNN) -- With just one day of direct testimony and three witnesses, the defense has rested in the trial of a New York police officer accused of conspiring to abduct women in a cannibalism plot.

Jurors are expected to hear final arguments in the trial of Gilberto Valle on Thursday, with Wednesday devoted to lawyers from both sides and the judge working without the jury present.

Probe: Ex-cop planned cannibalistic crime
Cop's cannibal fantasies a crime?

Valle, who was suspended without pay after his arrest last fall, is charged with conspiracy to kidnap and accessing a law enforcement database illegally. The government concluded its case Monday, with prosecutors contending that Valle was "deadly serious" about online plans allegedly to kidnap, rape, torture, cook and eat women.

Trial: Graphic photos, how-to-kidnap searches found on computer used by cop

Defense attorneys have argued that their client's conduct was "pure fiction," "make believe" and fantasy role-playing. None of Valle's alleged targets was ever victimized.

Valle did not take the stand during the trial.

Testimony Tuesday underscored the fantasy argument by the defense.

The Russian creator of a website and an online fetish network allegedly frequented by Valle said in a taped deposition that the site he created was for "legal" fetishes and is intended for "fantasy only."

Earlier prosecution testimony centered on Valle's involvement with the site and its network. He carried out extensive e-mail and electronic conversations with users of the site discussing kidnapping and cannibalizing women, according to prosecution witnesses.

Defense in cannibalism plot trial says conversations were fiction

Speaking from Moscow on tape and in Russian, with his remarks translated into English for the courtroom, Sergay Merenkov said he created his site of "dark fetishes" because "we saw a niche in the market and we created this website for these people that have this kind of interest -- (for) all fetishes that exist, that are legal."

But on cross-examination, Merenkov admitted he saw discussions of rape and murder on members' pages.

"We wrote the rule so people could distinguish between reality and fantasy," said Merenkov, defending the site and a message he posted on safety.

In the taped deposition, which was recorded last month, Merenkov admitted he has had to kick users off because of conversations they were having through the website, explaining in those cases, "It could have led to something bad."

Prosecutors: NYPD officer was 'deadly serious' about cannibalism scheme

Merenkov said that photos on the site are supposed to feature models playing out fantasies and not real victims, but he conceded that in some instances there were real photos on the site that users had posted, specifically crime-scene photos.

Alexandra Katz, a paralegal for the defense, testified that she looked up Valle's profile under the screen name "girl meat hunter." On his account she testified she read comments he wrote about himself such as, "I like to push the envelope but no matter what I say it's all fantasy."

Micheal McDermott, who has worked for the NYPD for 24 years, was the defense's final witness. During McDermott's last eight years, he was the union delegate for the Patrolman's Benevolent Association. McDermott testified that it was a very common thing among police officers to give out PBA cards, something the prosecution previously argued Valle did as a ruse to obtain home addresses from his alleged victims.

Graphic e-mails read at New York cannibalism plot trial

CNN's Raelyn Johnson contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
updated 12:40 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 11:35 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
updated 6:28 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT