Google can answer most things and a New York policeman accused of plotting cannibalism made full use, with queries including "human meat recipes" and "best rope to tie someone."
Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Gilberto Valle, 28, with testimony from the FBI agent who
scoured the accused's computers for hundreds of sick downloads that the government says prove a conspiracy to kidnap women for rape, torture – and eating.
The jury was shown disturbing images from fetish websites of women being burned and prepared for cooking – or at least simulations of this – and was told by FBI Special Agent Stephen Flatly about other searches Valle allegedly made to help his cannibal plans.
These also included "what to look for in human meat," and "white slavery."
Valle, a six year police veteran who was studying for promotion to sergeant, faces life in prison if convicted on the kidnap conspiracy charge. He is also charged with illegally accessing the police database, which prosecutors allege was used to investigate potential kidnap victims.
His lawyers, due to open their defence case on Tuesday, say Valle is nothing more than a sexual fantasist with bizarre, even horrible, but harmless proclivities shared by many men on specialist websites.
No women were harmed by Valle, who used the websites to discuss cannibalism of young women, including his now estranged wife, with other men. One of those men, Dale Bolinger, also known by his Internet handle as Moody Blue, has been arrested by British police on child pornography charges.
A lawyer for Valle, dubbed the "cannibal cop" in the US media, told Judge Paul Gardephe the evidence in the now completed prosecution case was so flimsy that the accused man should be acquitted immediately.
"There's overwhelming evidence that Mr Valle engaged in very, very ugly conversations," the attorney said, "but engaging in very ugly conversations is not what he's charged with. Yes there were words... but the words were said in a particular context on the Internet."
The judge withheld a decision on the defence motion to acquit Valle, meaning his defence case would have to go forward.