Two judges on a federal appeals panel seem unlikely to reinstate a guilty verdict against a former New York City police officer who became dubbed the "cannibal cop" for his online exchanges about kidnapping and eating women.

But the panel's third judge appeared firmly on the side of prosecutors during Tuesday's arguments in the case against ex-Officer Gilberto Valle (VAL'-ee).

A lower court judge had overridden the jury's guilty verdict and ordered him acquitted of conspiracy to kidnap, kill and eat women. Valle was sentenced to time served on a minor computer charge.

The jury at his trial had concluded he wasn't just fantasizing when he conversed online with others he had never met about killing and cooking his wife and others.

The appeals judges did not immediately rule.