Valva’s fiancée Angela Pollina stands accused of dragging the victim down the stairs and forcing him to sleep in the garage after he soiled his pants. While in the garage, Pollina allegedly texted Valva camera footage of Thomas shivering, and Valva replied, "F--k that piece of s--t, Thomas. He is not going anywhere."
As Thomas was dying of hypothermia, prosecutors told jurors that Valva yelled at his son and hit him, WABC-TV reports.
Thomas and his brother were both on the autism spectrum. Thomas reportedly had another brother and lived with Pollina’s daughters.
Prior to Thomas’ death, teachers at East Moriches School District called the New York State Child Abuse Hotline over 20 times after noticing that Thomas and his brother attended school with bruises and wearing pull-up diapers, and they would look through trash to find extra food.
During a pretrial hearing, the family’s housekeeper Tyrene Rodriguez said that the dog slept in the cleaning supply room, which was heated.
Rodriguez reportedly heard the child crying when she went to Valva and Pollina’s home on Jan. 17, 2020. Pollina allegedly told the housekeeper that Thomas would "be OK" after Rodriguez expressed her concerns.
During the trial, Valva’s lawyers tried to place the blame on Pollina, WABC reports.
Valva’s attorney Jo LoTurco reportedly said, "It was clear from all of the evidence … that she was the dictator of discipline in that household, that she controlled not only Michael but she also had a lover in that household that lived with her."
In early 2020, both Valva and Pollina were initially arrested and charged with second-degree murder, according to WABC.
On Friday, Nov. 4, the jury began deliberating, and Valva was found guilty of second-degree murder after just one day. Valva will be sentenced on Dec. 8 and faces up to 15 to 25 years to life in prison.
In a statement, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said, "This guilty verdict will not bring back 8-year-old Thomas, who suffered immense cruelty at the hands of his father, the same person who was entrusted to protect, provide, and unconditionally love Thomas and his older brother Anthony."
Tierney continued, "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. I thank the jury for their service. Because we have another case on this matter pending, I will not comment any further at this time."