Judge: ‘Cannibal Cop’ Conspirator Not Granted Bail, Deemed Danger To Community
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New Jersey man who was arrested last week in connection with a cannibalism plot will remain behind bars.
Federal Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman ordered Michael Vanhise, 23, of Trenton held without bail as a danger to the community.
The judge based his finding on a claim by prosecutors that after his arrest, Vanhise admitted that he intended to take part in acts of kidnapping, rape and cannibalism that he discussed online with NYPD officer Gilberto Valle.
Prosecutor Randall Jackson told the judge that Vanhise took part in surveillance of targets of the plot and even sent pictures of his 7-year-old niece to other conspirators, suggesting the little girl as someone to be kidnapped and eaten.
In Vanhise’s defense, his attorney argued that her client was tricked into making the admission after two and a half months of cooperating with the FBI and insisting all during that time that the plot was nothing more than role-playing an online fantasy.
Prosecutors said Vanhise conspired with Valle last year to kidnap a woman in New York and bring her back to his home in New Jersey where she would be raped and killed.
Vanhise agreed to pay Valle $5,000 for the abduction, prosecutors said.
According to court papers released last week, the two said in email conversations that she would be knocked out, bound, gagged and then stuffed into a large suitcase to be delivered to Vanhise’s home.
“Just make sure she doesn’t die before I get her,” Vanhise said in one exchange, according to the criminal complaint.
The FBI said Vanhise also admitted emailing others about kidnapping, raping and killing other women and children, the complaint said. Prosecutors said he also participated in a plan to kidnap a young girl.
“Michael Vanhise engaged in conduct that reads like a script for a bad horror film, but fortunately, neither he nor his co-conspirators were able to act out the twisted conspiracies described in the complaint in real-life,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement last week.
Valle, 28, was arrested in October on charges that he plotted to kidnap, kill and eat women while keeping a detailed database of dozens of potential victims, authorities said.
The alleged plot involved months of scheming with at least two co-conspirators online, the FBI said.
Investigators obtained detailed accounts of the plan, dating back to January, by searching Valle’s computer, authorities said. One document on Valle’s computer was titled “Abducting and Cooking (Victim 1): A Blueprint,” according to a criminal complaint.
“I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus — cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible,” Valle wrote in one exchange in July, the complaint said.
No women were actually harmed.
Valle is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
He is also charged with one count of intentionally and knowingly accessing a computer without authorization and exceeding his authorized access for allegedly using police computers to locate potential victims, officials said.
Valle pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan in November. He was suspended from the police force after his arrest.
Valle’s kidnap conspiracy trial is scheduled to begin later this month.
His lawyer says Valle was engaging in sexual fantasies and did not intend to hurt anyone.
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