A former NYPD police officer Michael Valva was found guilty of the 2020 murder of his autistic 8-year-old son Thomas. He was found guilty on all counts, including second-degree murder. The 43-year-old went on trial in September on charges of second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. His ex-fiancee Angela Polina was also charged.
The court heard that Valva had locked his son overnight in an unheated garage at their home. The little boy's death highlighted years of abuse and neglect. He was also subjected to starvation and ended up eating crumbs off the ground at his school.
Thomas Died of Hypothermia
Investigators found that the eight-year-old boy died of hypothermia on January 17, 2020 after he was locked in the freezing garage for up to 16 hours. Temperatures had plummeted to 19 degrees. His 10-year-old brother Anthony survived the bone-chilling punishment.
An emergency worker, who tried to save little Thomas, told the court that Valva had "no emotion, no sense of concern" for his son. He told the responders that he had found Thomas unresponsive after hitting his head on the door frame.
Valva's lawyer said Polina, who lived with his client at the time of Thomas' death, was responsible for the fatal abuse. He said she refused to let Valva provide Thomas with a blanket and other amenities prior to his death. "It was clear from all of the evidence, a substantial evidence that she was the dictator of discipline in that household, that she controlled not only Michael but she also had a lover in that household that lived with her."
Raymond Tierney, Suffolk County District Attorney, said no child should ever have to endure such evil acts. "This case is heartbreaking, and it has been one of the toughest child abuse trials for our prosecutors, court personnel and jurors." He highlighted that nothing can be done to bring Thomas back, but they are satisfied with the jury's decision.
Valva faces up to 25 years to life in prison.