NYC "cannibal cop" co-defendant denied bail
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - New Jersey man Michael Vanhise was denied bail Monday in a cannibalism case, after a prosecutor said the 22-year-old auto mechanic confessed to the FBI that a plot to kidnap, rape and kill a woman that with New York City police officer Gilberto Valle was more than an Internet fantasy.
Vanhise was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman three days after he was arrested on charges that he planned a gruesome plot with Valle.
Valle, 28, is set for trial in two weeks in Manhattan federal court on charges that he planned to abduct, rape, murder and eat women. No women were injured in either case and Vanhise's attorney said her client even tried to warn authorities about others he feared might actually commit the acts they discussed in a deviant online fantasy world.
Pitman seemed reluctant to deprive Vanhise of bail until Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Jackson insisted Vanhise had confessed to FBI agents on Friday that he meant to carry out the plot with Valle even though he had said it was fantasy when he was speaking with the FBI several times a week since October.
The prosecutor also said Vanhise, of Trenton, N.J., had sent photographs of his two nieces, ages 7 and 9, as well as a 3-year-old step-daughter, to others who were communicating with him on the Internet about potential victims. And he said Vanhise had conducted surveillance with others of some targets.
Jackson said Vanhise had sent a photograph of the 7-year-old to others online and suggested that his niece "could be kidnapped, could be eaten."
"He goes far beyond any fantasy," Jackson said, noting that he haggled with Valle to try to lower the $5,000 fee for the kidnapping of a Manhattan woman.
Pitman then agreed the government had shown Vanhise was a danger to the community, citing "abhorrent, disturbing, dark conduct."
Still, he gave a nod to the defense arguments when he said: "I appreciate that the defense here is that it was a fantasy world."
Vanhise's attorney, Alice Fontier, called "totally false" the prosecutor's claim that Vanhise had admitted to the FBI that he is sexually aroused by children and that he was sexually aroused by his own step-daughter.
The lawyer said Vanhise had gone to the Hamilton, N.J., police department on at least four occasions over the last two years to complain that others on the fantasy web site might be interested in carrying out some fantasies but the police had brushed him off.
Prosecutors said there's no police record of Vanhise reporting others from the fantasy web sites.
Fontier said she agreed with Officer Valle's lawyer, who on Friday said she believed Vanhise's arrest was meant to prevent him from testifying in support of Valle at his trial.
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