Judge: Cell Phone Evidence In ‘Cannibal Cop’ Case Is Unclear
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A federal judge said Wednesday that key evidence that the government has boasted about against an NYPD officer charged with seeking to kill and eat women might not be so clear after all.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said he is concerned about a “lack of clarity” over cell phone data supporting charges against Officer Gilberto Valle.
Defense lawyer Julia Gatto urged him to toss out cell phone evidence prosecutors plan to use to prove the officer tried to observe two potential victims as he plotted to harm them.
Gatto said evidence does not place him on the same block as the women as prosecutors had promised. And a prosecutor conceded that cell-phone data could only put him within four to five blocks of where one woman worked and another lived.
Valle, 28, is charged with planning to kidnap, rape, kill and eat women.
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 had created a computer catalog with records of at least 100 women with their names, addresses and photos, according to the criminal complaint.
Lawyers said he was merely fantasizing and intended no violence. No women were actually injured.
On Monday, prosecutors said Valle engaged in a grisly Internet chat with a man who said he was in India. They said Valle told the other man that his “girlfriend” and his wife were both 25 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 140 pounds.
According to prosecutors, the other man asked if the wife was vegetarian and Valle said yes. Prosecutors said the man told Valle her meat would be lower quality.
Valle was suspended from the police force after his arrest.
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