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Former NYPD officer sentenced to 25 years to life for the death of his 8-year-old son

<i>Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM/Getty Images</i><br/>Michael Valva is seen as a guilty verdict is read during his trial at Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead
Newsday via Getty Images
Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM/Getty Images
Michael Valva is seen as a guilty verdict is read during his trial at Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead

By Rob Frehse and Emma Tucker, CNN

A former officer with the New York Police Department was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Thursday after he was found guilty last month of murder in the second degree related to the death of his 8-year-old son, Thomas.

Michael Valva, 45, was also found guilty of four counts of endangering the welfare of a child after the boy died of hypothermia in 2020, prosecutors said.

CNN has reached out to Valva’s attorney, John LoTurco, for comment on the sentencing.

Thomas and his brother Anthony, both of whom are autistic, were forced to sleep in the couple’s garage for months prior to Thomas’ death on January 17, 2020, prosecutors said, citing trial evidence.

On that morning, Thomas and his brother had no heat, no bathroom access, no mattress or blankets, and after waking up on the cold cement floor of the garage, Thomas had an accident and soiled his pants, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

A surveillance camera showed Michael Valva screaming at Thomas and sending him outside in the subfreezing temperatures, where he was hosed down with water, according to the district attorney’s office, and Thomas lost consciousness and fell face-first onto a concrete patio several times.

Valva delayed calling 911 for help until about an hour later and by the time Thomas arrived at the hospital, his temperature was 76 degrees, which is 20 degrees below normal, prosecutors said, citing testimony and evidence at trial.

“The torture that killed Thomas and endangered Anthony’s welfare was nothing short of evil,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said in a press release.

“This is one of the most difficult and heartbreaking cases I have experienced in my nearly 30 years as a prosecutor. Thanks to the great work of my prosecutors and the SCPD, there is a small measure of justice in Michael Valva receiving the maximum sentence,” Tierney said. “However, no prison sentence is adequate for the cruel treatment this defendant inflicted on his own children.”

Valva’s co-defendant and former fiancée, Angela Pollina, 45, is also charged with murder in the second degree and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She is scheduled for trial on February 21, 2023.

The Suffolk County Department of Social Services said it had investigated multiple complaints against the household, including a petition for child neglect in 2018.

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