Despite the gruesome crimes allegedly plotted by a New York City police officer, the prosecution may have some trouble proving the man’s intent, according to Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Litigation Shareholder Stuart Slotnick.

Accused officer Gilberto Valle is facing charges for allegedly planning to kidnap, kill and eat women, some of whom he allegedly found via unauthorized use of a law enforcement database.

But as Slotnick explained to TIME.com, the bigger question is if the state can show intent.

“The real issue here is that the prosecution has a tremendously high burden that these plans to kill and eat women were more than just a fantasy,” Slotnick said. “The basic problem is that he never did that to anyone. There are people out there with all types of eccentric quirks, this happens to be a sick, sick sexual fantasy.”

Slotnick noted that the prosecution needs evidence of wrongdoing – for example, testimony that Valle kidnapped or drugged someone, or took real action to put his plan in motion. Evidence in the case thus far is limited to computer-based activities.

Even Valle’s illicit use of the law enforcement database may be insufficient evidence for a jury, Slotnick said.

“In order to get a conviction, you need to build a wall of evidence. That might be one brick, and that alone is not enough.”