This interview originally appeared in Red Room Magazine, October 2017, published by Comet Press.
DAVID L. TAMARIN: For people who don’t know you, can you tell us why you were put on trial and why the whole thing including the HBO documentary is a “Raw Deal”?
GIL VALLE: It’s a very long story that could fill a book (and it did!), but here is the cliff notes version. I was arrested by the FBI in October 2012 and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The main evidence against me was fictional writings on the Internet; Fantasy role plays with other anonymous users that originated from a dark fetish/fantasy website. Although the chats and role plays were fake, there is no getting around the fact that they were very graphic and detailed. The roleplays also involved photos of women that I knew. I downloaded Facebook photos of them and used them as characters of the stories. That’s something that scared people, but I never shared any personal information. When people have sexual fantasies, they usually incorporate people that they know into those fantasies. That isn’t unusual. My fantasies are deviant and unusual, but that is all that they are.
Early on, after the arrest, the feds were alleging that I took actions to execute an actual kidnapping. They said that it wasn’t just fictional chats on the computer. They said that these were real crimes. I cover their allegations in detail in my memoir, but once the actual trial started it became clear that their allegations were all false. There were no real-world actions. The “plans” that I made on the Internet contained dates that would come and go without any follow up. I would chat with a user (who I didn’t know in real life, and he/she didn’t know me), and we would say that we were going to kidnap someone on Tuesday. Tuesday would come and go, nothing would happen, and I’d chat with the person again a week later and we’d come up with a new story. There was never any, “Hey, what happened to last Tuesday?” because these were clearly fictional role plays. If you think that’s laughable, the FBI seriously believed that I was going to kidnap three women (one in Ohio, one in New York, and I was going to bring another to Pakistan) all on the same date—February 20, 2012.
Despite the total lack of evidence, the jury convicted me and I was facing life in prison. That was a shock to everyone in the court room, including the trial judge who later overturned the verdict and dismissed the case. That never happens in federal court, and the judge taking that extraordinary action is telling as to what a farce this prosecution was. Without any real-world evidence, I was prosecuted for nothing more than my thoughts. The government thought that they were scary and they didn’t like them, so they tried to put me in prison for the rest of my life. With all of the notoriety still surrounding me, I was contacted by people from HBO Documentaries. They wanted to make a documentary about my case and Erin Lee Carr, the director, told me that they were going to make a firm stance for my innocence. Of course that sounded great, so I agreed to do it. She kept the act up throughout the whole process, but the documentary ended up not being even close to accurate. Erin essentially did what the prosecutors did. She cherry picked certain things, left a lot of evidence in my favor out (including proof that an FBI agent committed perjury) and the documentary basically ended up being 50/50. In interviews afterward, she admitted that she wanted to make a movie where half of the people would think that I was innocent, and half of the people would think I was guilty. That was not what I was told, and had she been honest with me, I would not have agreed to do it.
The documentary forced me to write my memoir though. I couldn’t let that piece of dishonest journalistic garbage be the last thing that people heard about my case. Raw Deal, my memoir, is the full and accurate story for the first time. Everything that I say in that book is backed up by court documents and people have fact checked and confirmed that nothing was left out. It is so frustrating that people make up their minds about my guilt or innocence based on what they saw in Erin’s documentary, or from what they heard early on in the case when the US Attorney’s office was blatantly misrepresenting fact after fact to keep me from being released on bail. Slowly but surely though, more and more people are starting to get it, and the book has been received very well.
DT: During all your time as a police officer what was the most disgusting thing you ever saw on the job?
GV: I responded to all kinds of crime scenes, many of them violent. There was a lot of really messed up stuff. I probably saw around 35-40 dead bodies, not all of them were murders. Some died naturally, a few were hit by cars and were dead. Brain matter scattered all over the road. The most gruesome one I saw was this guy who killed himself by jumping in front of an Amtrak train. We got the 911 call and we were on the tracks looking for the body. It was outside and it was dark so I had my flashlight pointed down. The first thing I saw was his foot. His foot up to his knee had been completely severed. And slowly but surely we found the different pieces of the guy. His torso was completely ripped off too. The whole upper half of his body including his head were about 300 feet away from the foot that I found. His face was frozen with what I guess his last expression was. It was like he was screaming. That one definitely sticks out.
DT: What was it like being on duty when news came out that bin Laden was dead?
GV: I was on patrol in the car with my partner when we found out that Bin Laden had been killed. I think someone announced it over the radio, and we were ecstatic. I remembered not caring about patrol anymore. We were driving up next to cars and telling them to roll their windows down and telling them that Bin Laden was dead. Some people already heard, some didn’t. But that’s all we did for like twenty minutes. Even people in the projects who hated the cops were all amped up about it. It was one of the coolest nights I ever worked. It was so surreal. For a night, everyone was unified.
DT: Tell me about A Gathering of Evil. How did the idea come about? Did it take a long time to find a publisher? How do you think the public will react to it and its intense and strong brutal content?
GV: After I wrote Raw Deal, people were reaching out to me on social media asking “Okay, so what’s next? Are you going to keep writing?” A few of them suggested that I should try writing a horror novel. I enjoyed the process of writing Raw Deal so I decided to give a fictional horror book a shot. I laid the storyline out in my head, then started to type. I wrote 62,000 words in a month. It was easy for me. I have this ability to visualize a scene and write about every detail. I have a wild imagination and I can tell a good story. I had Brian Whitney, who coauthored Raw Deal with me, read the new book and he helped tighten up the writing.
When we were happy with the final draft, we sent it out to several places. Comet Press got back to us in about three days which was incredible. I was looking for someone who would be excited to work with me, and Cheryl and Randy clearly were clearly the right fit. It’s been a fun experience so far.
As you mentioned, the story is very graphic and brutal. I even had a hard time rereading it when I was editing it. A book coming from me couldn’t be a romance story. It had to be scary and horrifying. It’s my first attempt at a novel, so I wanted to push the envelope. Four people have read it, and all four commented on how disturbing it is. I think this book is going to freak people the hell out, but that’s what my goal is. No one wants to read a boring story. Admittedly, this book isn’t going to be for everyone. I told my family that they aren’t allowed to read it. But for people who are into extreme horror, give this book a shot and see if you can get through it without putting it down.
DT: Thanks Gil!
A Gathering of Evil was released on January 4, 2018.
David L Tamarin is a Massachusetts writer who lives with his wife, three cats, two geckos, and one poltergeist. He can be reached at www.facebook.com/davidltamarin. His true crime column is available for free reading at www.severed-cinema.com/uglyworld.
Gil Valle is a former NYPD patrol cop who rose to infamy in 2012 after he was wrongfully arrested by the feds for allegedly plotting to kidnap, cook, and eat women. He became known to the world as the “Cannibal Cop” and faced life in prison. Valle has since been completely exonerated of all wrongdoing and he released “Raw Deal” — a memoir about his ordeal and the criminal case — in February, 2017.
Follow him on social media:
Twitter – @gilvalle3
Instagram – @gilvalle14
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/gil.valle.7
Comet Press is an independent publisher of horror and dark crime