THE THIN BLUE LINE
Thomas Valva was just eight years old when he froze to death in the garage of his Long Island home. Prosecutors argued the boy’s father, 43-year-old former NYPD police officer Michael Valva, knowingly forced they child and his 10-year-old brother to sleep on the concrete floor of the unheated garage after being hosed down with freezing water in the middle of winter despite temperatures dropping to under 20 degrees. A jury on Friday agreed, unanimously finding Valva guilty on one count of second-degree murder in his son’s death, prosecutors announced.
The boy ultimately died on Jan. 20, 2000 after going into cardiac arrest brought on by hypothermia. His body temperature was reportedly only 76 degrees when he arrived at Long Island Community Hospital.
Valva’s former fiancée, Angela Pollina, 45, was also charged with one count each of second-degree murder and child endangerment in Thomas’ death. She has pleaded not guilty. A date for her trial has not yet been set.
I will beat them until they bleed,” Valva once texted Polina about “ the boys, assistant Suffolk County DA Laura Newcombe told jurors, according to Newsday. “It is the only thing that works.”
The prosecutor said Thomas and his 10-year-old brother were both special-needs students who were so badly neglected that officials at their schools said they would arrive for class in soiled clothing and dig through the garbage for food.
“You are making it too comfortable for them,” Pollina told Valva, according to La Pinta. “Let them be uncomfortable. That will teach them to control themselves.”