Two judges on a federal appeals panel seemed unlikely on Tuesday to reinstate a guilty verdict against the former NYPD officer in the "cannibal cop" case.
The panel's third judge, however, appeared firmly on the side of prosecutors during arguments in the case against ex-officer Gilberto Valle.
A lower court judge had overridden the jury's guilty verdict and ordered Valle acquitted of conspiracy to kidnap, kill and eat women, saying prosecutors had failed to prove Valle had taken actual steps to carry out any genuine plans. The jury at his trial concluded he wasn't just fantasizing when he conversed online with others he had never met about killing and cooking his wife and other women.
Valle was then sentenced to time served on a minor computer charge.
The NYPD officer was arrested in 2012 after his wife discovered disturbing material on his computer and reported it to the FBI. At trial, prosecutors argued that Valle took steps to carry out his plot, including looking up potential targets on the law enforcement database, searching the Internet for how to knock someone out with chloroform and where to get torture devices and other tools.
In one of the numerous online conversations shown to the jury during the trial, Valle told a man he met in a fetish chat room, "I want her to experience being cooked alive. She'll be trussed up like a turkey. ... She'll be terrified, screaming and crying."
The appeals judges did not immediately rule.