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Fate of 'cannibal cop' now in hands of jurors

Mark St George/Rex USA

Federal prosecutes argued NYPD police officer Gilberto Valle, 28, plotted to kidnap six women before raping, killing and cooking them.

Jurors in the “cannibal cop” case began deliberations on Thursday to decide whether a New York City police officer actually intended to kidnap and eat women — or if he was simply engaging in an offensive but harmless role playing fantasy online.

In closing arguments, Officer Gilberto Valle’s defense attorney told a Manhattan federal court jury that his client had no intentions of acting on the gory and disturbing things he chatted about with other users of fetish websites.

Prosecutors argued that Valle was not engaging in a fantasy, but plotting to “kidnap, torture, rape and commit other horrific acts” on at least six women, including his wife, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman said.

Pointing to his extensive online research on kidnapping, making chloroform and cooking women, she said: "These are real searches conducted to carry out real research to kidnap real women."

The FBI arrested Valle after his wife came across troubling late-night online chats in which her husband allegedly laid out plans to abduct, kill and cannibalize various women.

The 28-year-old police officer became a tabloid sensation in a case that revolved around sex around the legal implications of engaging in fantasy role playing.

Attorneys for Valle said his obsession was a mistake that ruined his life and family, but there is no proof he conspired to carry out all the things he chatted about on the Internet. They tried to demonstrate to the jury that he did not have the tools necessary to carry out the crimes.

But prosecutors argued Valle did take steps to carry out the attacks, including looking women up on a law enforcement database and viewing a video clip of how to slaughter a goat, which Waxman called “a practical how-to guide to killing.”

Valle’s lawyers contend his wife simply panicked when she came across the online chats, likening it to the 1938 radio broadcast “War of the Worlds,” when unsuspecting listeners thought a story about an alien invasion was a real newscast.

His only offense was fantasizing about committing violence against women, the defense said.

"That's Gil's porn," defense attorney Julia Gatto said. "Gil has a fetish. He's had it for a long time."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story