Jury chosen for 'cannibal cop' trial
A gender-split jury of six men and six women was chosen on Tuesday to hear the upcoming federal trial of the NYPD "cannibal cop" charged with conspiring to kidnap and eat women.
After three days of jury selection, prosecutors and lawyers for accused police officer Gilberto Valle finally agreed on a panel that includes a lawyer, an endurance athlete, a couple of video gamers, the son of a state judge, a teacher, a bus driver and a coin collector.
Valle, 28, is accused of hatching a plot online with other devotees of kinky sex websites to abduct women and deliver them for sexual abuse before being cooked. Prosecutors contend that he also conducted surveillance of some targets and misused a police database.
The trial is to begin Feb. 25 in federal court in Manhattan. Defense lawyers argue Valle was turned on by fantasizing and pretending to be planning such acts, but never actually did anything and never intended to do anything.
Jury selection was complicated by the likelihood that testimony will delve into a variety of aberrant sexual practices discussed at websites Valle visited, and evidence may include explicit and disturbing pictures downloaded to his computer.
After jurors were exposed to some of the material in a questionnaire distributed last week, nearly one-third of a panel of 90 were excused based on complaints that they found the content nauseating, offensive and infuriating.
The panel seated Tuesday included five suburbanites from Westchester or Putnam counties, and five jurors who said they live alone. They ranged in age from a 22-year-old Manhattan actuary who watches "The Daily Show" to a 61-year-old retired customer service rep from Westchester who collects antiques.
Jurors who were not picked mostly said they were relieved, but some allowed that the trial would not be boring.
"It would have been interesting," said Ingrid Dixon, a legal assistant from Westchester County. "Different strokes for different folks."