A former New York city cop cried crocodile tears as he pleaded for forgiveness for locking his autistic eight-year-old son in a garage overnight as temperatures dipped below freezing.
Michael Valva, 43 years old, spoke before his sentencing. He wept for leaving Thomas Valva, 8 to die in the Long Island garage on January 2020.
But the apology did not seem to sway Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William Condon who sentenced the ex-cop to 25 years to life behind bars on Thursday — just one month after he was found guilty of murder and four counts of child endangerment.
Prosecutors have revealed over the course of a month-long trial Valva and his then-fiancée forced Thomas and his older brother, Anthony, to sleep in the garage of their Long Island home as temperatures plummeted below 20F.
They claimed in court that the boys were made to endure 16 hours in the cold garage, without blankets or access the bathroom, as punishment for urinating at the Center Moriches house.
Later, a medical examiner ruled that Thomas died from hypothermia. Authorities stated that Michael refused to call 911 for at minimum an hour after he became unconscious.
Michael Valva was an ex-NYPD Officer who killed his eight year old son by forcing him to sleep on a concrete floor in a garage, as temperatures dropped below freezing.
Before his sentencing at the Suffolk County Supreme Court of Long Island on Thursday, Valva, 43, tried and failed to apologize for his actions.
Thomas Valva, age 8, died after being forced to sleep in the garage of his father’s house in Center Moriches. He was told to wash himself after he had soiled himself the previous morning.
Valva confessed, “I am truly sorry, and I’m heartbroken, and ashamed as you stand before me,” prior to the sentencing.
His attorneys had tried to paint Michael as a loving father who was being manipulated by his then-fiancée Angelina Pollina, with whom he shared the two-story Long Island home.
They claimed that Pollina had the idea of forcing the brothers to sleep inside the garage. Michael then cried for his actions and said Thomas’s death was an accident.
Thursday’s sentencing took place Newsday According to reports, Justice Condon told Valva he was truly sorry for what happened his young son.
Condon stated that although he doesn’t believe you intended to kill Thomas but that Thomas and Anthony lived their lives under constant duress. Condon also said that the fact Condon was a NYPD officer at that time made his actions ‘even more unbelievable’
The judge, a veteran judge, said that he was retiring at the end the year.
He The verdict was then delivered and Valva could be seen crying as his bottom lip trembled.
Ray Tierney, Suffolk County District Attorney, announced that justice had been done in the ‘heartbreaking case’.
At a news conference, he said that Michael Valva received the maximum sentence because of the great work of his prosecutors and the SCPD.
“But, no prison sentence is sufficient for the cruel treatment that this defendant gave his children. The torture that resulted in the death of Thomas and the endangering of Anthony’s well-being was nothing short if not evil.
“Thankfully, the story of this defendant is over. But the pursuit of justice for Thomas or Anthony continues.
He stated that he would continue to do all he could to hold those responsible for the torture and abuse against these children and to ensure that Suffolk County has adequate safeguards in place so that such a case does not happen again.
Valva’s defense attorneys had tried to shift the blame on his former fiancée Angela Pollina, 42, (right), saying Valva was being manipulated by her and it was her idea to force Thomas and his older brother Anthony into the garage that day
Angelina Pollina, a woman who allegedly took part in the abuse, spit on Thomas with cold water during the ordeal at Center Moriches. Pictured: Pollina, Valva
Authorities claim that they were first dispatched at the Long Island home where the boy lived at 9.40am. This was after his father reported that the boy had fallen on the driveway and lost consciousness while running towards the school bus.
Responding officers found Valva performing CPR for Thomas in the basement. The boy was taken to Long Island Community Hospital. There, nurses recorded that his body temperature was 76.1 degrees.
He He was later declared dead from complications of hypothermia.
After a series of calls to Child Protect Services, a probe revealed that Thomas had ordered cameras and microphones to be set up in Michael Valva’s home. He told Thomas to go outside to cool off in sub-freezing temperatures.
Prosecutors claim that it may have been an early sign he was suffering from hypothermia.
After According to authorities, Thomas started to wash himself down and lost consciousness. He then fell face-first into the concrete patio in his backyard.
Audio files recorded the couple discussing Thomas’s hypothermia. They had been washed in cold water and were unable to walk. Thomas was then ‘face-planting” on concrete.
They laughed and said that he was hypothermic, and that he had allegedly ‘face-planted’ on the floor.
Pollina observed: “You know why he’s going down?’.
Valva replied: ‘Because he’s cold…. boo f*****g hoo’.
Prosecutors have stated that it took Michael another hour to call for help.
Thomas’ siblings were taken into custody by their mother after his death. While Pollina’s daughters were placed with their biological fathers,
She Child endangerment and second degree murder charges are now on the horizon. The trial is scheduled to start in February. He has pleaded not guilty.
Thomas lived in the house with his older brother Anthony, as well a younger brother and Pollina’s three daughters.
Prosecutors described the house’s two-story structure as a “house full of horrors” and detailed the abuse Thomas, Anthony received.
Investigators found more evidence that the boys suffered extreme punishments and starvation within the home.
Teachers have since testified to the fact that the boys arrived at school with bruises and were often so hungry that they ate crumbs from the floor.
The teachers explained that they complained often about being cold and would then cry about their home lives at East Moriches Elementary School.
One teacher said that Thomas confided in her that he didn’t eat breakfast because he didn’t ‘use his words’ or verbally greet Pollina.
Edward Schneyer, principal of East Moriches Elementary School, said that Michael was rebuffed when he received suspicions about the child’s neglect.
Schneyer stated that the school began ‘flooding” CPS with calls for Thomas’ welfare.
Schneyer stated that Thomas and Anthony looked fine when they first started school in 2017 but they started looking ‘extremely obese’ after they started going to class.
Thomas would often come to school with bruises and cuts, while his brothers would feel cold and hungry.
Anthony, then 10 years old, showed up at school one time soaked in urine.
Schneyer said that while the children’s conditions would temporarily improve with each new CPS complaint filed by the school, the changes were not permanent.
Justyna Zubko Valva is Thomas’ mother. After they refused to listen, she was given the go-ahead by Child Protective Services to sue them for $200million.
Zubko Valva and Thomas, before Thomas’ death. Thomas’ father was granted custody of Thomas in 2017.
Thomas’ mother, Justyna Zurbko-Valva, stated that she had provided evidence to the school of alleged abuse at his father’s hands for two years. The evidence included audio recordings as well as medical records.
She Recently, a judge gave the green light to sue Child Protective Services officials and school officials for $200 million.
The father was granted custody of his autistic sons in 2017. However, Zubko Valva claims Thomas’ school did not respond to her abuse allegations for one full year.
She CPS claims she gave CPS an external flash drive containing 320 files of evidence about abuse. This included transcripts of Valva telling his sons,’mommy’, ‘I don’t want to stay with mommy’ and ‘I don’t love mommy’
Zubko Valva stated that Valva told CPS she was the abusive parent and that she beat the children with ‘brown medication’.
She CPS was accused of fabricating evidence to support the father’s allegations and lying about their findings.
Thomas’ mother claimed that CPS had found that Thomas looked ’emaciated’ but that they closed the investigation into Valva 10 day before Thomas died.
TIMELINE TO A TRAGEDY – THE THOMAS VALVA CASES
Michael Valva, 41 years old, is being accused of second-degree murder, child endangerment, and the death of Thomas, his 8-year-old son who was on the autism spectrum. He was left to freeze in a garage overnight January.
February 4, 2011 Justyna Zubko Valva, Michael Valva’s estranged wife, accused Michael Valva of verbal abuse and financial fraud.
September 14, 2011 Thomas Valva was born.
2014, Late Zubko Valva claims Valva is having an affair in secret with Angela Pollina.
2015: Zubko Valva and Valva begin divorce proceedings.
July 2016, Zubko Valva claims Valva is guilty of child abuse. This includes starvation, dehydration and a lack medical care for Anthony when he was sick.
September 2017, Temporary custody is granted to Valva, with Zubko receiving unsupervised visits every other weekend.
Fall 2017 East Moriches Elementary School staff expressed concern about abuse in Valva home.
January 2018 After meeting with a CPS worker Thomas and Anthony, Zubko Valva was accused of abuse by both Thomas and Anthony.
April 2018, Renee Emin, a school psychologist, sees bruises on Thomas. She’s told Valva that she gave them to him.
February 2019: CPS report states that Anthony goes to school with urine-soakings.
March 2019, CPS report again points out potential malnutrition and garage punishments.
May 2019, CPS report says Valva threw book bags at Thomas’ head.
January 16, 2020 Thomas and Anthony were allegedly forced to stay in the garage overnight, covered with blankets, pillows, and mattresses.
January 17, 2020 Suffolk County Police respond to 911 calls after Thomas falls in driveway. He Long Island Community Hospital announces that the patient has died.
January 24, 2020 Valva and Pollina were arrested and charged with second degree murder and child endangerment.
February 2020 Suffolk Family Court is told by Valva that he has been fired. However, police claim that he was simply suspended without pay.
June 2020: Zubko-Valva files a $200 million lawsuit against officials over failing to heed her warnings concerning the abuse Thomas was suffering.
October 28, 2020 Valva resigns with his pension intact from the NYPD