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NYPD Cop's Ex-Fiancée Sentenced For The Death Of His 8-Year-Old Son, Who They Locked In A Frigid Garage Overnight
“You tortured those boys,” Suffolk County Court Judge Timothy P. Mazzei told 45-year-old Angela Pollina at her sentencing on April 11.
A Long Island woman who allowed her fiancé's son to freeze to death in an unheated car garage more than three years ago was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison this week.
Pollina and Valva, who was found guilty on second-degree murder charges in Thomas' death last year, had been accused of punishing the boy by locking him overnight in the family’s Long Island garage on Jan. 17, 2020, which ultimately led to the child’s death. The 8-year-old died of hypothermia the following morning, according to an autopsy. He’d been locked in the garage for approximately 16 hours.
“This case and the trials that ensued were not only heartbreaking, but they were also infuriating,” said District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. “As I’ve said before, while the story of these two defendants ends here, the pursuit of justice for Thomas and Anthony is not over.”
Prosecutors said Michael Valva sprayed Thomas with a hose before locking him in the unheated garage hours before his death. It was 19 degrees Fahrenheit outside at the time. Thomas' internal body temperature was only 76 degrees Fahrenheit by the time he arrived at the hospital in 2020.
For months, Suffolk County prosecutors, citing text messages exchanged between Pollina and Michael Valva, said the Long Island woman had insisted the 8-year-old be locked away in the family garage and not be allowed to use indoor bathrooms.
Suffolk County Court Judge Timothy P. Mazzei unleashed a scathing rebuke at Pollina’s sentencing, describing the 45-year-old as “evil.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to visit the prison where you’ll be sent,” Judge Timothy Mazzei said, per Law&Crime. “My only regret, Ms. Pollina, is that they don’t have a garage there with no heat, and no mattress, and no blankets, and no pillows, and […] nothing that belongs in a bedroom. So you could sleep [there] for the rest of your life. Because that’s where you deserve to be for the rest of your natural life.”
Prosecutors had contended Thomas and his brother Anthony, were forced to sleep in the car garage without access to a bathroom, no mattress or blankets.
“You tortured those boys,” Mazzei added.
Surveillance cameras at the couple’s Center Moriches home captured Pollina doing bills shortly before Thomas' death in which she appeared to show little concern for her stepson’s wellbeing.
“Cause he’s hypothermic, hypothermic means you’re freezing, washing yourself in cold water when it’s freezing outside, you get hypothermic,” Pollina told one of the couple’s other children when they inquired as to why Thomas couldn’t walk shortly before he was hospitalized.
At trial, the family’s housekeeper had also testified that the family’s dog, “Bella” had been allowed to sleep in a heated mudroom while Thomas was imprisoned in the garage on the eve of his death.
"Not once did the defendant indicate in any way, shape, or form that she was sorry for what happened to 8-year-old Thomas Valva. An 8-year-old little boy who has now lost his life. Not once did she indicate that she was simply sorry for what happened, an 8-year-old boy who lived in her house for two years. Not even sorry that he died," prosecutors added.
Pollina had testified on her own behalf at trial that she and her former fiancé had made the joint decision to banish Thomas to the garage.
"This is a situation that wasn't managed well," said Matthew Tuohy, Pollina's lawyer, according to WABC-TV. "Obviously, things went south very quickly and she couldn't manage it."
Michael Valva was also sentenced to 25 years to life in his son’s death in December.