A former New York City police officer was given a 25-year to life term on Thursday for the death of his 8-year-old son while being forced to sleep in the family’s frigid garage.
In November, Michael Valva, 45, was found guilty of four counts of endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the death of his son Thomas Valva in January 2020.
The youngster was compelled to sleep in the family’s Long Island garage in temperatures below 20 degrees. His death was determined to be a homicide, with hypothermia as a significant contributing cause.
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A history of child maltreatment in the home was discovered due to the heinous instance.
According to NBC New York, Valva cried and apologized in court on Thursday. NBC News has contacted Valva’s lawyer for a response.
“One of the most challenging and heartbreaking cases I have handled in my nearly 30 years as a prosecutor,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney of the incident.
“Michael Valva receiving the maximum penalty is a little amount of justice, thanks to the excellent work of my prosecutors and the SCPD. No prison sentence, though, will adequately punish the offender for the horrific treatment he inflicted on his children, Tierney said in a statement.
He denounced the terrible treatment of his brother Anthony and Thomas Valva’s boys.
“The torture that took Anthony’s life and put Thomas in peril was beyond wicked. Thankfully, this defendant’s case is over, but Tierney said that Thomas and Anthony’s fight for justice continues.
On January 17, 2020, Suffolk County Police were called to the Long Island residence of Valva and his then-fiancée Angelina Pollina, in response to a report that the young child had fallen in the driveway and passed out.
Thomas was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, according to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, who also noted that the boy’s body temperature was just 76 degrees as physicians attempted to revive him.
After reviewing footage from the couple’s sophisticated home security system, police quickly disproved Valva’s allegation that his son had fallen and become unconscious while attempting to catch the school bus.
Thomas and Anthony Valva, who both have autism, were said to have spent 16 hours in the garage without heat, access to bathrooms, a mattress, or blankets on a chilly night. At that time, Thomas woke up and soiled his pants, according to the prosecution’s case during the trial.
According to NBC New York, Thomas lost consciousness and fell face-first several times into the concrete patio in the backyard, and Michael Valva delayed calling 911 for at least an hour. The incident was captured on surveillance video presented at the trial and showed Valva yelling at Thomas and telling him to hose him down outside.
According to the station, defense counsel Anthony Lapinta argued that Pollina, Valva’s ex-fiancée, was overbearing and desired that the boys reside elsewhere.
The trial for Pollina, 45, who is also accused of second-degree murder, is set for February 21, 2023.
Hart asserts that investigators discovered from the CCTV tape that Valva’s sons were subjected to “food deprivation and exposure to extraordinarily chilly temperatures” as punishment.
The Suffolk County Department of Social Services Commissioner Frances Pierre stated at the time of Valva’s arrest that a one-year child supervision program was instituted after allegations of child maltreatment in the home in 2018.
Following the accusations, Valva, employed by the NYPD since 2005, was on unpaid leave.