The former NYPD officer Michael Valva, 43, who is accused of leaving his eight-year-old son Thomas Valva in a freezing garage overnight, causing him to die of hypothermia in January 2020, faced first day of trial on Wednesday, September 28. It was revealed during the trial that Michael allegedly texted ex-fiancee Angela Pollina, 45, about his two sons by saying, “I will beat them until they bleed. It is the only thing that works.”
Opening statements stated by the prosecution said that Michael for months kept his two special-needs sons, Thomas and his 10-year-old brother Anthony, in the cold garage to sleep without bedding, which had registered a temperature of 19 degrees at the time Thomas was found. Prosecutors said the children were denied food, access to a bathroom, arrived at school in soiled clothing, looked for food in trash cans, limping, bruised and shivering, as per reports. Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe told jurors, consisting of eight women and four men, “They were observed at school literally eating crumbs off the floor,” reports show.
What exactly happened?
On the morning of January 17, 2020, police responded to a 911 call at Michael’s home in Center Moriches. He had placed the call and was performing CPR on the boy when officers and EMTs arrived. However, the young boy was declared dead shortly after at a nearby hospital. Michael lied to the Suffolk police, paramedics and emergency room staff who treated Thomas by telling them that the boy lost consciousness after falling on his face that morning.
According to reports, Detective Cassidy Lessard, of the 7th Precinct, was also present in the court and gave her testimony. The officer was one of the first on scene and described the details on how she discovered Thomas Valva in the garage. She said that Michael called 911 after his son fell and hit his head. On the other hand, Michael’s attorney, Anthony La Pinta, said at that time his ex-fiancee Angela made Michael go through a tough time because of his son’s medical and special need issues. He said Michael was not financially stable and wanted to make things work. He did not think his children would die from the conditions they were living in, stated the outlet.
Michael and Angela have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the 2020 death. Their cases are being tried separately. Michael will face life in prison, if convicted.