This Friday, a jury convicted former NYPD police officer Michael Valva, 43, on charges that he knowingly forced his 8-year-old child to sleep on the concrete floor of the unheated garage at his Long Island home, causing the child to contract hypothermia, leading to the child’s death, Law&Crime reports.
His son, along with his 10-year-old brother, were allegedly hosed down with water before being forced to sleep in the garage while temperatures dropped below 20 degrees. The jury unanimously found Valva guilty on one count of second-degree murder in his son’s death. They also convicted him on four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Angela Pollina, 45, who is Valva’s former fiancée, was also charged with one count each of second-degree murder and child endangerment in the child’s death and has pleaded not guilty.
“Today the jury has spoken on the tragic murder of Thomas Valva by his father, the defendant Michael Valva,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a statement. “This guilty verdict will not bring back 8-year-old Thomas, who suffered immense cruelty at the hands of his father, the same person who was entrusted to protect, provide and unconditionally love Thomas and his older brother Anthony. 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.”
The child died on Jan. 20, 2020 after going into cardiac arrest due to hypothermia. According to Law&Crime, his body temperature was reportedly only 76 degrees when he was taken to the hospital.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Valva initially tried to pass off his son’s death as an accident. He told investigators that Thomas fell while he was trying to catch up with the school bus, but police didn’t buy the story. The 8-year-old’s head and facial injuries were inconsistent with the defendant’s version of events, authorities said.
At the time of the murder, Valva had custody of his three sons, ages six, eight, and 10. Pollina had three daughters: a 6-year-old and twin 11-year-old girls.
Prosecutors said that Thomas and his brother had been locked in the garage without heat for approximately 16 hours before Thomas succumbed to the brutal conditions. The children, both of whom were on the autism spectrum, were reportedly sent to the garage as punishment for accidentally urinating and defecating inside of the house.
Valva faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Read the full report over at Law&Crime.