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Cannibal Cop's Computer Led To Conviction

NYPD officer Gilberto Valle found guilty of in high-profile case.

Cannibal Cop's Computer Led To Conviction

While the internet may allow people to adopt various personas and live out fantasies online, it's not a place for planning out criminal activity involving cannibalism, a jury ruled today.

A New York jury has found NYPD officer Gilberto Valle — known in the media as the Cannibal Cop — guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and a charge of illegally using a restricted law enforcement database to gain personal information about potential victims. Valle also searched the internet for ways to knock someone out with chloroform, NBCNews reports.

While Valle's defense lawyers argued he was just fantasizing online, prosecutors countered that an analysis of his computer showed he was planning to abduct his wife and at least five other women he knew. "The internet is a forum for the free exchange of ideas, but it does not confer immunity for plotting crimes and taking steps to carry out those crimes," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.

The case is sure to continue to stir the debate over internet privacy vs. protecting the public, at least until Valle is sentenced. He could be given life in prison.

[Image courtesy of flickr user Txspiked]