A former NYPD officer was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2018 hypothermia death of his eight-year-old son with autism. The judge sentenced Michael Valva to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years served.
Judge Condon said Valva must be held accountable for the abusive punishments he made his sons endure.
During the trial, prosecutors described how Valva subjected his three sons to neglect and cruelty amid a bitter divorce and custody battle with their mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva. Valva is also accused of having sprayed Thomas with cold water during a 16-hour torture session.
Text messages show that Angela Pollina, Micheal Valva’s fiancee, asked Valva whether she should send Thomas to school the next morning.
On the eve of Thomas’ death, Pollina sent videos of Thomas lying in the cold to Valva.
Suffolk County Police responded to a report that a little boy had fallen in the driveway and lost consciousness. After combing through footage on the couple’s extensive home security system, they discovered that the boy had spent 16 hours in the garage without heat, bathroom access, mattress or blankets.
Thomas was found by paramedics nearly naked in the winter cold. His organs shut down and he died hours later.
School officials testified that the Valva children often attended class soaked in urine and faeces, and that Thomas was so emaciated that he would eat crumbs off the school floor.
Justyna Zubko-Valva, the young boy’s mother, has been outspoken about her fight with the court system to gain full custody of her children.
Zubko-Valva filed a $200m wrongful death suit following Thomas’ death against CPS caseworkers and investigators, school officials, her children’s attorneys and Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Hope Schwartz Zimmerman.
According to the lawsuit, Tommy’s death was preventable because the parents had abused, starved and tortured the children for years.