The trial of the so-called “cannibal cop” began on Monday with opening arguments from both sides.
Gilberto Valle, a New York City police officer, has been accused of plotting to kidnap, torture, and eat women.
But the accused’s lawyer has asserted that his thoughts were pure fantasy, reports The Huffington Post.
Defense attorney Julia Gatto explained to the jury in Manhattan that it “can’t convict people for their thoughts, even if they’re sick.” The prosecution disagrees.
They plan to use emails and other evidence to show that the cannibal cop planned to kill. They plan to argue that he even drew up a list of intended victims using a law enforcement database.
Meanwhile, the defense is expected to argue that Valle’s cannibalistic thoughts were part of an online fantasy world where participants would talk about the acts, but never actually follow through on them.
The case regarding accused cannibal cop Gilberto Valle is unusual, according to NBC News. Several authorities, including sex crimes prosecutors, First Amendment defense attorneys, and sexual behaviorists have never encountered such a case.
They explain that they have never heard of a suspected conspiracy to commit a violent crime started on a website focused on violent sexual fantasy role play.
So far Valle has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with Michael Van Hise, a New Jersey mechanic, to kill and cannibalize a Manhattan woman. The NYPD officer instead has claimed that he never intended to follow through with his online fetish role play.
Valle’s online dossier reportedly includes the names, and sometimes descriptions and photos, of more than 100 women. Investigators believe he also discussed kidnapping and murdering some of them with Van Hise.
Prosecutors allege that Valle searched for home-made chloroform recipes so that he could knock out a Manhattan woman and take her to Van Hise. Then, the two allegedly discussed how to slow cook her so that she stayed alive as long as possible.
It is not clear how long the trial will take, but experts are watching closely. Former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein, who wasn’t involved in the case, stated, “A case of this magnitude, and of this nature, may make case law.”