- Michael Valva was convicted of the second-degree murder of his son on Friday, per CBS New York.
- Valva’s children were forced to sleep in an unheated garage in winter, per the outlet.
- Prosecutors said Thomas and his brothers were abused by their father months before his death.
A former NYPD officer on Friday was convicted of murder in connection to the 2020 killing of his 8-year-old autistic son, who he forced to sleep in an unheated garage.
Michael Valva was found guilty of second-degree murder and child endangerment in the death of his son Thomas, according to CBS New York.
Valva initially told police officers in 2020 that his son had fallen in the driveway while waiting for the school bus, per ABC 7. However, after reviewing home security footage, police at the time discovered Thomas and his 10-year-old autistic brother sleeping on the garage floor without pillows or blankets and shivering, according to the outlet.
“Thomas Valva was subjected to freezing temperatures in the home’s unheated garage overnight when the outside temperature was 19 degrees,” Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart told ABC 7 in 2020.
Police arrested both Valva and his at-the-time fiance Angela Pollina and charged them with second-degree murder, according to the outlet.
In the months leading up to his death from hypothermia, 8-year-old Tommy was subjected to unspeakable cruelties, including starvation, beatings and emotional abuse, prosecutors said, per CBS New York. However, the defense argued, “Despite parental deficiencies, Michael did not want Thomas to die,” the outlet reported.
Valva’s lawyer said it was Pollina’s idea to force the boys to sleep in the garage after they had a toilet accident where they soiled themselves, according to CBS New York.
According to the outlet, Valva texted Pollina after the boys soiled themselves, saying “Ok, I’ll beat them up again. Talking don’t work. Maybe a bloody face will.”
Valva’s defense team asked the jury to convict Valva on a lesser charge, arguing that he was overwhelmed emotionally and financially after a heated custody battle with his ex-wife, Justyn Zubko Valva.
“There was a significant amount of evidence against our client and so we understand the verdict, we are disappointed in the verdict,” defense attorney John Loturco said, according to CBS New York.
Thomas’s siblings are currently with their mother, according to the outlet.
“While there is nothing that we can do to bring Thomas back, we are satisfied with the jury’s decision,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said in a statement to CBS New York.
“Michael Valva subjected his sons to horrific abuse, neglect and cruelty. He will now pay for cutting short the life of a young, innocent, defenseless boy who had a lifetime ahead of him.”