Ex-Cop Found Guilty Of Murdering 8-Year-Old Autistic Son Who Died After Being Locked In Freezing Garage

Ex-Cop Found Guilty Of Murdering 8-Year-Old Autistic Son Who Died After Being Locked In Freezing Garage

A former New York City cop has been convicted of murdering his 8-year-old autistic son, who died of hypothermia after being left in an unheated garage over night. 

Ex-cop Michael Valva, 43, was found guilty of second degree murder by a jury in Long Island after his son Thomas died in January 2020 when he went into cardiac arrest due to being stuck in frigid conditions. The temperature in the garage, where Thomas was locked with his brother Anthony for up to 16 hours, dropped to 19 degrees. 

“This guilty verdict will not bring back 8-year-old Thomas, who suffered immense cruelty at the hands of his father,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said after the jury’s decision, before adding that the the former cop “will now pay for cutting short the life of a young, innocent, defenseless boy who had a lifetime ahead of him.”

Valva was also convicted of four counts of child endangerment after the jury deliberated for less than one day on Friday. He could face up to 25 years in prison. After the verdict was handed down, John LoTurco, a defense attorney for Valva, said that he understood the decision but was disappointed. 

“There was a significant amount of evidence against our client, and so we understand the verdict, we’re disappointed in the verdict, but we understand it,” LoTurco said.

During the trial, LoTurco argued that Valva should not be facing second degree murder, but instead homicide and manslaughter charges because his client was not indifferent toward his son’s life.

“You’d have to believe that he had utter disregard for Thomas’s life, that he simply did not care whether Thomas would die. And that’s absolutely not true,” he said, saying that prosecutors wanted to portray the former police officer as a “coldblooded monster, a werewolf with no love in his heart, who did not shed a tear over the death of his son.”

During the trial, it was revealed that the boy had defecated on himself while in the garage overnight, and in the morning Valva told him to take off his clothes and go outside to be hosed down. The boy slipped while outside and hit his head on the concrete.

After various attempts by Valva to revive his son failed, including slapping and yelling “wake up” at the boy he called 911. Thomas was found to only have a temperature of 76 degrees while at the hospital.

While trying to revive Thomas, one EMS worker claimed that the Valva had “no emotion, no sense of concern” after rescue workers had been told that the young boy had bumped his head. 

“You can’t throw an 8-year-old out into 19-degree weather naked after having him sleep on a cold garage floor and not expect that the child is going to be hypothermic,” said Kerriann Kelly, a prosecutor for Suffolk County. 

Angela Pollina, Valva’s former fiancee, is also facing second degree murder and child endangerment charges from the incident.

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