Ex-fiancée takes stand after former cop found guilty of killing son with autism

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Ex-fiancee takes stand after ex-cop found guilty of killing son
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Angela Pollina took the stand Tuesday after former NYPD Officer Michael Valva was convicted in the death of his autistic son.

RIVERHEAD, Suffolk County (WABC) -- The ex-fiancée of the man convicted for the murder of his autistic son took the stand in her trial on Tuesday.

A judge sentenced former NYPD Officer Michael Valva to 25 years to life for the murder of his 8-year-old son Thomas last December.

An attorney for Angela Pollina said she will be the only witness he calls.

"She didn't commit the murder, she had no part of it, and she tried to help him," Pollina's defense attorney Matt Tuohy said.

That is what the defense hopes to show in Riverhead.

So far, Pollina's testimony regarding the death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva back in 2020, caused some to cringe inside the courtroom, in particular when she said she and her ex-fiancée Michael Valva had agreed that his son needed to sleep in their cold garage in Center Moriches in the dead of winter.

"So, it doesn't discount her wanting him in the garage and exiling him, but that, she's not a part of why he died," Tuohy said.

Their argument all along was that Michael Valva crossed the line.

Thomas and his brother were forced to sleep in the frigid garage in January 2020 as temperatures outside plummeted to 19 degrees. Thomas froze to death.

"And you're going to see Michael Valva always taking things a step further," Tuohy said. "You know, 'he's a perp I'm gonna put him in handcuffs, I'm gonna give him a bloody nose.'"

In court, Pollina testified to what she witnessed saying, "Michael has the hose on him. I saw Thomas. He was looking at me."

She said she was shocked by what she saw and that on that day, Michael Valva took punishment to whole other level.

She went on to say "Thomas was on the floor and Mike was over him. And I said, 'Get your hand off his mouth.'"

But despite all of this, Pollina said over and over again about Thomas that he didn't appear to be in any "immediate danger."

"She didn't just say, 'Yeah, I don't really care about him' and have depraved indifference," Tuohy said. "She brought blankets to him. She brought a heater to him."

But Thomas Valva was unresponsive later that morning, and Pollina testified that only then did she panic and call 911.

It is a strategy that could very well backfire as the prosecution maintains that Pollina never cared.

The court dismissed on Tuesday and testimony, including cross examination, will continue this week.

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