A former New York City police officer was convicted by a New York jury in the torture and death of his eight-year-old autistic son. Found guilty of second-degree murder, the former cop, Michael Valva, faces a life sentence in the death of his son, Thomas.
An NYPD veteran, Valva – along with his girlfriend Angela Pollina – has also been charged with child endangerment for the beating and starvation of the autistic little boy.
"A Long Island jury has convicted a former NYPD cop accused of killing his special-needs son by forcing him to sleep in a freezing garage. Michael Valva was found guilty of second degree murder and child endangerment."https://t.co/c5xJEHIjU2
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) November 6, 2022
According to The New York Daily News, Valva hosed Thomas down with freezing water and forced the third grader to sleep in an unheated garage where temperatures dropped to below 20 degrees. The abuse was captured in messages sent between Pollina and the disgraced former officer.
“I will beat them until they bleed,” Valva once texted Pollina about the boys, assistant Suffolk County DA Laura Newcombe told jurors at the beginning of the trial, according to Newsday, “It is the only thing that works.”
Valva’s lawyer placed the blame on Pollina. Telling jurors that she encouraged the maltreatment of Thomas and his 10-year-old brother Anthony– who was also subjected to horrendous abuse.
“You are making it too comfortable for them,” Pollina, 45, told Valva, according to La Pinta. “Let them be uncomfortable. That will teach them to control themselves.
The couple has four other children who were removed from the home after their arrests.
“This case is heartbreaking, and it has been one of the toughest child abuse trials for our prosecutors, court personnel, and jurors. No child should ever have to endure such evil acts,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney.
Educators testified to seeing the boys bruised and “so hungry, they ate crumbs off the floor.”
Prosecutors allege Valva did nothing while his son died in front of him. After taking the boy to Long Island Community Hospital, the father initially told investigating officers that Thomas hit his head while walking to the bus stop – a story contradicted by the child’s injuries, The Long Island Press reported.
After six weeks of testimony, the Long Island jury took less than a day to return the verdict. Two years after the autistic child’s heartbreaking death, Tierney said of the conviction:
“While there is nothing that we can do to bring Thomas back, we are satisfied with the jury’s decision. Michael Valva subjected his sons to horrific abuse, neglect and cruelty. He will now pay for cutting short the life of a young, innocent, defenseless boy who had a lifetime ahead of him.”
Facing 25 years to life in prison, Valva’s sentencing is scheduled for December 8th. Pollina is awaiting trial.
Original reporting by Thomas Tracy at The New York Daily News.
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