A New York City policeman dubbed the "cannibal cop" by local media planned to abduct, cook and eat a woman for Thanksgiving dinner, according to prosecutors who successfully moved to keep him behind bars without bail at a court hearing.
The defence attorney for Gilberto Valle, Julia Gatto, said that her client's musings were "disturbing" and "sick" but were merely fantasies and that he never intended to carry them out.
Valle, 28, was arrested in October after a two-month investigation by the FBI and the New York Police Department's internal affairs division. Prosecutors said phone and computer records showed he had been building a database of women — complete with personal information and physical descriptions — as part of a plot to kidnap, torture, cook and eat them.
"This case is all the more disturbing when you consider Valle's position as a New York City police officer and his sworn duty to serve and protect," the US attorney, Preet Bharara, said in a statement at the time.
In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said some of Valle's online conversations with a friend included the idea of getting "some girl meat" in time for Thanksgiving. "It's a long way off, but I'm getting the plan in motion now," Valle allegedly wrote, adding that he knew where his intended victim lived and would "grab her from her house".
Valle is accused of plotting through emails and instant messages with unidentified co-conspirators. In one, he wrote that he had created a so-called blueprint for "Abducting and Cooking" a potential victim, according to a criminal complaint.
"I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus," he was quoted as writing. "Cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible."
Judge Paul Gardephe denied bail for Valle.
Valle has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to illegally accessing the federal National Crime Information Centre.
The FBI and police say he used his position as a police officer to access the centre to find potential victims. If convicted on the kidnapping allegation, he could face life in prison.
The FBI has conceded that no women were ever harmed, but that there was a "great deal of intent" by Valle, who had been assigned to a police precinct in Harlem.
"There is nothing about this case that is rational," Judge Gardephe said at the hearing, according to media reports. "It is depraved, bizarre, and at the moment it is unexplainable — especially by someone who is a police officer."
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
Valle's trial was set for January 22.
Los Angeles Times; New York Times