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Thursday, May 16, 2024 | Back issues
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Targets of the ‘Cannibal Cop’ Take the Stand

MANHATTAN (CN) - After learning that the so-called cannibal cop wrote disturbing sexual fantasies about her, a woman said she could not believe they came from her old friend Gilberto Valle.

Kimberly Sauer testified Tuesday that she first learned Valle, her friend for over 10 years, planned to abduct her when she received a frantic, middle-of-the-night Facebook message from Valle's wife, Kathleen Mangan.

Trying to find another explanation, Sauer said she took a screenshot of Mangan's message and texted it to Valle, saying that either Mangan's account had been hacked or "you're trying to sell me into white slavery."

Valle has been dubbed the cannibal cop since federal prosecutors charged him in October 2012 with conspiring to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat "a number of women."

The 28-year-old New York City Police Department officer insists, however, that his posts on Darkfetishnet.com represent pure fantasy.

Sauer is one of three apparent targets of Valle's writings who testified for the government on Tuesday.

Both she and another target, Maureen Hartigan, are old friends of Valle and successful professionals in their 20s.

They testified that they rarely saw Valle, but stayed in contact through sporadic text messages that Valle usually initiated.

Valle's attorney Julia Gatto highlighted during cross-examination that the women eagerly reciprocated communication with Valle because they viewed him as "a nice, non-violent guy."

Undercutting that description, Special Agent Corey Walsh testified that Valle's friendly text message banter coincided with elaborate plots he discussed online with co-conspirators, such as Christopher Collins who wrote under the handle Moody Blues.

The prosecution says Valle confided in Collins that he had yet to dine on the women as he had fantasized doing for so long. Collins, a purported cannibalism connoisseur with two women-based meals under his belt, allegedly provided Valle with mentorlike advice.

"As for feet they are favorite of mine along with the c--t fillet," Moddy Blues wrote in one gruesome chat.

Testimony revealed that, as they plotted, Valle sent Moody Blues a YouTube clip of Sauer, in a bikini, swimming with dolphins. "I'd like to have her arm on a bbq," he wrote, adding that he would use her head "as a centerpiece, frozen with her final expression of fear."

Agent Walsh also testified as to how Valle and Collins discussed detailed logistics about how to kidnap the women.

Valle even sent Moody a two-page document titled "Abducting and Cooking Kimberly: A Blueprint," with instructions such as buying "cheap sneakers" and putting something in the trunk to "collect DNA."

Hartigan testified that Valle invited her to meet him outside her office for a quick meeting to catch up in the summer of 2012.

Unbeknownst to Hardigan, who said she had not seen Valle "in a couple of years," her old friend had been actively chatting online about kidnappings and cannibalism.

"It didn't strike me as that strange, but it did seem kind of strange because previously we hadn't been in contact that much," Hardigan said of the meeting.

Valle arrived in uniform while another individual observed their interaction from Valle's patrol car, she testified. Hardigan said she believes this observer "was a male," but that she could not get a good look at him.

As Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Jackson led Hartigan and Sauer through screenshots of their iPhone text messages with Valle, both recounted efforts that Valle made to learn their home addresses and the location of their offices.

Both nevertheless acknowledged under cross-examination by Gatto that Valle's actions did not make them uncomfortable and seemed to them, at the time, to be just normal inquiries between friends.

"He's interested in your life and you're interested in his," Gatto said, and they both agreed.

Agent Walsh testified there were elements of both criminal intent and fantasy in Valle's chats. "The ones I believed were fantasies, the individuals said they were fantasizing," he said. "The ones I believed were real, the people were sharing names, details, pictures of women."

The iPhone text message conversations, which spanned several years, also showed developments in Valle's life leading up to his arrest, including news of his marriage to Mangan and the announcement of the birth of their baby daughter Josephine.

As Sauer read a aloud a text message from Valle after the birth of his baby daughter stating, "My name is Dad!," Valle put his head in his hand and appeared to cry, then wiped his eyes.

A third alleged target of Valle, Kristen Ponticelli, testified that she had never met the now-suspended New York City Police Department officer.

While the jury was out of the room, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe denied a request sent by the prosecution Monday night to introduce testimony about Moody Blues' desire to cook and each children.

Gardephe said such testimony was "sensational and inflammatory" and would "cause unfair prejudice" since Valle repeatedly disavowed interest in cannibalizing children.

Valle faces a life sentence if convicted on the charges of conspiracy to kidnap and improper use of a federal database.

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