The trial of Gilberto Valle, dubbed the “cannibal cop,” began in New York on Monday with testimony from his wife, Kathleen Mangan-Valle. During her time on the stand, Mangan-Valle discussed intimate details about her husband, including his perverted fantasies.
Mangan-Valle testified against her husband, who is being tried on conspiracy to kidnap and accessing a computer without authorization and could face life in jail, at the first day of the trial at a federal court in New York City's borough of Manhattan. The couple was married for less than a year, and, when Mangan-Valle became pregnant, she said that her husband began to act strangely and she was concerned about his behavior.
Mangan-Valle’s suspicions were confirmed when she downloaded spyware onto Valle’s computer to monitor his activity, noted the New York Daily News. Mangan-Valle was crying while recalling the moment she discovered thousands of emails by Valle that described how she and her friends would be bound up and killed. These emails included photos of Mangan-Valle and her friends, in addition to the explicit descriptions.
In the emails, Valle described how one of Mangan-Valle’s friends was to be “stuffed in suitcase,” while another friend was going to be “roasted alive,” noted the NY Daily News. Two other friends were “going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears.”
In addition to the explicit emails, Mangan-Valle also testified about the bizarre porn fetish her husband had. According to the Associated Press, Mangan-Valle discovered on her husband’s computer “death porn,” and, in response to questioning, she said, “It wasn't porn. That was dead people. I don't know why you keep calling that stuff porn.”
According to the AP, the prosecution is trying to convict Valle even though he had yet to commit any crime. The focus on the trial for the prosecutor is to prove to the jury that Valle’s actions were not just fantasy and that he was planning to act on those fantasies. Defense attorney Julia Gatto said Valle was merely looking to share his fantasies online, discussing it with others on forums and other dedicated websites, arguing “You can't convict people for their thoughts, even if they're sick."
Gatto showed photos of Valle with his daughter, and, when she questioned Mangan-Valle about their relationship, the wife describe the honeymoon period as short and that Valle began acting strange after their wedding. She soon reported Valle’s behavior to the FBI, who then uncovered the much larger plot that led to Valle’s arrest.
The prosecution argued that Valle was planning to act once he began accessing data from the National Crime Information Center that included addresses and physical descriptions of women who were on Valle’s victims list. Valle also searched online for ways to tie rope and what chemicals were best to incapacitate an individual.
Valle is expected to take the stand during the trial, and Gatto plans on bringing in experts to discuss the subculture and fetishes that the “cannibal cop” was obsessed with.