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Case of N.Y. cop accused of cannibalism plot goes to jury

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
updated 10:14 PM EST, Thu March 7, 2013
Gilberto Valle, a New York City police officer, is accused of engaging in a plot to kidnap women and cannibalize them.
Gilberto Valle, a New York City police officer, is accused of engaging in a plot to kidnap women and cannibalize them.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jurors get case of Gilberto Valle, charged with conspiracy to kidnap in cannibalism plot
  • The New York City officer's e-mails outlined real plans, government contends
  • Valle's e-mails were "dark improv theater," his defense attorney argues

New York (CNN) -- The fate of a New York City police officer accused of engaging in a plot to kidnap women and cannibalize them now lies in the hands of the jury.

Jurors began deliberations to determine whether e-mail conversations Gilberto Valle had with alleged co-conspirators about plans to kidnap, torture, rape, cook and eat women were real or fantasy role-play.

Valle, who was suspended without pay after his arrest in October, is charged in U.S. District Court with conspiracy to kidnap and accessing a law enforcement database illegally. None of Valle's alleged targets was ever victimized. Valle faces life in prison if convicted of conspiracy.

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

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

In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman argued that the evidence shown in court proved that Valle had entered into an agreement with his co-conspirators to kidnap the alleged targets through e-mail conversations. Waxman argued that Valle conducted surveillance and handed out police charity cards in furtherance of his plan to kidnap the targets.

Waxman argued that Valle expressed "real, practical concern" for getting caught during his conversations and was methodical and strategic in his online research of how to carry out kidnappings. She said Valle's research of mass murderers and kidnappers were proof that he was trying to be careful about his alleged plan.

Waxman urged the jury to use "common sense" and look at the "big picture" during deliberation.

Cop's defense: Cannibalism chats were fantasy

Defense attorney Julia Gatto began her closing statements by repeating "I have a world in my mind," Valle's words to another fantasy role-play partner extracted from e-mail conversations revealed in court. "In that world I'm kidnapping women and selling them to people interested in buying them," she read aloud from Valle's e-mail conversation.

She said Valle had engaged in "dark improv theater" and said he fantasized about real people to heighten the experience. Gatto told the jury that it was a part of "crude, stupid, infantile, masturbatory storytelling."

Gatto said the government's case was "riddled with reasonable doubt." She noted that testimony in court revealed the FBI did not find the chloroform, rope, or a human-size oven that Valle alleged he had.

"This case is about storytelling, and the government has told a story too," Gatto said in court.

Graphic e-mails read at New York cannibalism plot trial

Assistant U.S Attorney Randall Jackson said in his rebuttal that evidence proved that "this was not someone just having fun." He banged his fist on the table, telling the jury that government evidence revealed "things you would expect to see in a plot to actively victimize someone."

"His porn consists of dead bodies," Jackson said. "That is not normal."

In his instructions, Judge Paul Gardephe advised jurors not to convict based solely on the defendant's thoughts alone, or the nature of the content on the Dark Fetish Network reviewed in court.

The jury will resume its deliberations Friday morning.

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

CNN's Raelyn Johnson and Sunny Hostin contributed to this report.

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