THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published — Wednesday 27 February 2013
Last update 27 February 2013 2:44 am
NEW YORK: The wife of a New York City police officer on trial on charges that he conspired to kidnap, torture, kill and eat women objected to a defense lawyer’s characterization of what she saw on her husband’s computer as pornography.
“It wasn’t porn. That was dead people,” 27-year-old Kathleen Mangan-Valle told defense attorney Julia Gatto Monday in an emotion-packed opening day of testimony that took a federal court jury in Manhattan into some of the darkest corners of sexually driven activity on the Internet. “I don’t know why you keep calling that stuff porn.”
The testimony came soon after a prosecutor insisted that Gilbert Valle was intent on conspiring to kidnap, kill and cook women he knew, including his wife. Gatto told jurors the 28-year-old officer wanted only to share extreme sexual fantasies on the Internet with like-minded people, some of the 38,000 registered to a website that caters to those interested in asphyxiation and cannibalism.
At times speaking through sobs and twice crying so hard that the judge ordered breaks, Mangan-Valle described coming across grisly photographs last summer on a website that was a regular stop for Valle, the baby-faced man she met in October 2009 through an Internet dating service.
Gatto tried to soften the image of her client by showing jurors pictures of a uniformed Valle and the couple’s 1-year-old daughter, a moment that caused the wife on the witness stand and eventually the officer at the defense table 30 feet away to cry out amid sobs.
She asked Mangan-Valle about good times with friends the couple had shared and their wedding last June.
“The wedding was nice. The marriage was not,” Mangan-Valle said.
Mangan-Valle made clear there were no mixed emotions when she told Gatto why she did not agree to speak with defense attorneys prior to the trial.
“You’re representing the man who wants to kill me. No, I don’t want to talk to you,” she said.
A prosecutor, Hadassa Waxman, had asked her earlier to describe what she found after she put a tracking device on a computer used by her husband to see what websites he visited and what he wrote to others in e-mails and instant chats. She said she learned she was a target.
“I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit and they would have fun watching the blood gush out of me because I was young,” she said.
Mangan-Valle also discovered plans to put one friend in a suitcase, wheel her out of her building and murder her. Two other women were “going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears,” while another was going to be roasted alive over an open fire, she said.