NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The story of the alleged cannibal cop took a new turn on Tuesday.
A jury heard from three women thought to be targets of the twisted plot by NYPD officer Gilberto Valle to kidnap, torture and eat them.
The sensational trial also turned graphic as jurors learned of emails from Valle to a man supposedly buying a woman the 28-year-old was going to kidnap.
In one exchange, using the name “Mhal52,” the officer wrote “You even get to kill her — $5000 dollars I think is very fair. She’s all yours. Nice slender build. She takes good care of herself. I don’t really mind if she experiences pain and suffering. I will sleep like a baby. Give me a week to watch her and know her routine.”
A FBI agent told jurors Valle had a computer file with the names of 89 women, some of whom he had pictures of and had been tracking.
During an online chat the married father had last summer with a cannibal cohort about another woman, he wrote “I’m glad you’re on board. She does look tasty doesn’t she? Her days are numbered. Once she is dead, I want to take her and properly butcher her and cook her body right away. I’m sinking my teeth into a thigh first, after maybe a hands and feet appetizer.”
Four women, allegedly prey of Valle, testified Tuesday. It was the second day of testimony in the officer’s trial in federal court in Manhattan.
Government witness Kimberly Sauer, 29, testified that she had not seen Valle since their college days but he suddenly began contacting her. He even made plans to drive to Maryland to visit her, she testified on Tuesday.
She testified that nothing strange happened until sometime after they met for brunch when she received a late-night Facebook message from Valle’s wife.
Kathleen Mangan had just discovered her husband’s online secret life and his obsession with kidnapping, torturing, raping, cooking and eating women, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Sauer told the jury that the message from Mangan was a warning that her name was part of those plans.
Sauer testified that her reaction to the Facebook message from Mangan was to send a text message to Valle, suggesting that his wife’s Facebook account must have been hacked due to the content of the message. She also testified that she texted Valle, “If this is true hahaha, you’re trying to sell me into white slavery.”
On cross-examination, Sauer told defense attorney Julia Gatto that she never felt threatened by Valle. Her testimony was similar to that of Andria Noble, a 27-year-old state prosecutor in Columbus, Ohio, who testified late Monday that she never saw Valle to be violent when she knew him at the University of Maryland.
She said he delivered on a promise to provide her with her own bedroom when she visited him once in New York during a break from law school.
“I made sure he knew it was just strictly as friends,” Noble testified.
Maureen Hartingan, a former high school classmate of Valle, testified Tuesday as well.
Hartingan said she hadn’t seen Valle in a couple of years when he suggested that he stop by her job to say hello. He was in uniform when he showed up outside her Times Square office building in his police cruiser.
Hartingan, 26, testified there was “nothing unusual” about the visit with someone who had asked her out in high school, when she made it clear she just wanted to be friends.
She said that in the last year they had exchanged birthday greetings and other pleasantries. Valle had bragged about his daughter, Josephine, and how he was hoping for a promotion at the Police Department, she recalled. Once, she said, she even suggested he and his wife stop by her new apartment.
When a defense lawyer asked if there was anything in the interactions “that created alarm in your mind,” she said there was not.
An 18-year-old woman who testified said she didn’t know Valle.
The women were called by the government to show jurors that women Valle described on the Internet were real potential victims of violence.
Prosecutors said Valle seriously plotted to kidnap, kill and eat as many as 100 women while his lawyer claimed it was just a fantasy.
“Who can blame you if that scares you,” Gatto told the jury in her opening statement Monday. “It’s the stuff of horror movies. But like horror movies, it’s pure fiction. Pretend.”
But in opening statements on Monday, a prosecutor said “very real women” were put in jeopardy.
“Make no mistake,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Jackson. “Gilbert Valle was very serious about these plans.”
The government’s first witness was Valle’s wife of less than a year. Breaking down into tears constantly while on the stand Monday, Mangan told jurors she installed spyware on Valle’s computer after becoming suspicious of his growing fascination with late-night web surfing.
“I saw a woman covered in blood, hanging. I saw a picture of human feet cut off from the body,” she testified.
Mangan then used his favorite password to look at his conversations. That’s when she decided to go to authorities.
“Plans. Plans,” she said. “I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit and they would have fun watching the blood gush out of me because I was young.”
Mangan also discovered plans to put one friend in a suitcase, wheel her out of her building and murder her. Two other women were “going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears,” while another was going to be roasted alive over an open fire, she said.
But Gatto told jurors the officer wanted only to share extreme sexual fantasies on the Internet with like-minded people, some of the 38,000 registered to a website that caters to those interested in asphyxiation and cannibalism.
“Sexual fantasies often include those we know, those we find attractive,” Gatto said. “It’s sad that it’s come to this, but it was purely fantasy. He was fantasizing about women he knows, about women he finds attractive.”
Gatto asked Mangan about good times with friends the couple had shared and their wedding last June.
“The wedding was nice. The marriage was not,” she said.
Valle is accused of conspiring to kidnap a woman and unauthorized use of a law enforcement database that prosecutors say he used to help build a list of potential targets. A conviction on the kidnapping count carries a possible life sentence.
The officer had attempted to contact potential victims, including a New York City elementary school teacher, to learn more about their jobs and residences, the prosecutor said. His Internet research also included the best rope to tie someone up with, recipes, human flesh, white slavery and chemicals that can knock someone out, Jackson said.
Valle is expected to take the stand to make the case that it was all role-playing fantasy. The defense also is planning to call experts to explain the fetish subculture and to show jurors the videotaped testimony of the fetish website’s co-founder, Sergey Merenkov.
A New Jersey man charged with scheming with Valle to kidnap, rape and murder a Manhattan woman is awaiting trial. He also says he intended no harm.
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