Ex-NYPD Cop Who Murdered Autistic Child After Leaving Him in Freezing Garage Sentenced to 25 Years to Life

Disgraced former NYPD cop Michael Valva, who was found guilty of murder in the freezing death of his autistic son, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Thursday.

Judge William Condon, noting the emotional toll the trial had taken, handed down the sentence in Suffolk County –delivering the maximum punishment for Valva's conviction of second-degree murder last month.

Valva's Son Died of Hypothermia After He Left Him in Unheated Garage

Michael Valva
Michael Valva (right) and his son, Thomas. Twitter

Valva, 43, was found guilty in the heart-breaking 2020 death of his 8-year-old son, Thomas, after the ex-cop locked the little boy in an unheated garage overnight.

The then-NYPD officer and his fiancé, Angela Polina, were arrested and charged in connection with Thomas' death. In the 911 call, Valva told the dispatched Thomas hit his head after falling down.

"My name is Michael. I'm a police officer with the City of New York. My son, I don't know if he's breathing or not. I don't know if his heart stopped. He fell down on his way to the bus. He banged his head pretty good. I brought him in. I'm doing CPR right now," Valva said on a 911 recording.

Thomas went into cardiac arrest and died from hypothermia, according to an autopsy report from the Suffolk County medical examiner.

Valva had a History of Being Abusive Towards Thomas and His Older Brother

The pair's exile to the garage was the culmination of a pattern of abuse. According to testimony and text messages between Valva and Pollina, the couple had for months repeatedly locked Thomas and his then 10-year-old brother, Anthony, who is also autistic, in an unheated garage at their home

The principal and teachers at East Moriches Elementary School, where Thomas Valva had been in third grade, had made at least two dozen calls to child protective services in the three years leading up to his death.

Teachers filed reports that the brothers arrived to school with bruises and abrasions on their bodies. Instructors saw Thomas and Anthony eat crumbs on the floor and food out of the trash. The children were constantly cold, according to the testimony, and they wore Pull-Ups because they were incontinent due to stress and to long bouts of not using a bathroom while at home.

Suffolk County prosecutors said that Mr. Valva had physically and verbally abused two of his sons for years before his Jan. 17, 2020 death.

Valva: 'I Am Truly Sorry'

"This was the most stressful trial I've ever been a part of as either a lawyer or a judge," Condon said. "Everybody who took part in this trial lost sleep, didn't eat, had nightmares — it was difficult for everyone."

His voice breaking, a tearful Valva said he accepted the sentence "as I have already sentenced myself to a life of extreme remorse, loss and grief."

"First want to express to you and everyone involved in case I am truly sorry. I am regretful and ashamed, heartbroken and grief stricken," he said. "I loved Thomas with all my heart."

"I terribly failed my boys, instead of providing them with unconditional love and support," he said. "My actions were neglectful and abusive to my boys, resulting in the tragic death of Thomas."

"Judge Condon, I did not want my son to die. I never imagined he would have died. However, I lost my way, thinking punishments were temporary and eventually would get us back to normal," he said. "I was so wrong, and it cost Thomas his life."

"I appreciate and I think you are sincere in saying you're sorry, I really do," Condon said, addressing the ex-cop. "I don't think you intended to kill Thomas."

"But there's no getting around the fact that Thomas and Anthony lived their young lives under constant duress in the place where they should have felt safest in their own home," he added.

Vala's former position at the NYPD made his actions "all the more unconscionable," Condon said.

"Rather than be his children's protector he was a warden who starved and repeatedly punished," the judge added."One question still beguiles me," Condon said. "How did all of us as a community allow this to happen? And I acknowledge this is not the appropriate forum to have this discussion — but it needs to happen."

"An 8-year-old boy who right now should have been getting excited for Christmas is dead," he said. The trial of Valva's ex-fiancée, 45-year-old Angela Polina, is scheduled for February 2023.

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