As the prosecution rested its case Thursday in the trial of ex-NYPD officer Michael Valva, whose 8-year-old son Thomas, froze to death in his father’s garage in 2020, the defense asked Judge William Condon that the murder charge be dismissed, based upon the “insufficient presentment of evidence related to that charge. We submitted that the prosecution’s evidence failed to establish that Michael Valva demonstrated a depraved indifference towards Thomas’ life as shown by his efforts to save Thomas’ life, once he realized he was in true medical distress, as well as his obvious parental concern throughout Thomas’ life, despite the conceded clear evidence of child maltreatment.”
Attorney John LoTurco added: “We expected Judge Condon to deny our motion at this stage of the proceedings, but we preserved our client’s future remedies if needed, and we will go forward with our defense, including final summations to the jury at the end of the trial.” Before resting her case, Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly turned to Valva and said, “You failed as a parent,” according to a witness in the courtroom.
Valva, along with his then-fiancee Angela Pollina, who will have a separate trial, were arrested Jan. 24, 2020, and charged with second-degree murder and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, each faces 25 years to life in prison. Both have pleaded not guilty and remain jailed without bail.
Prosecutors have said Thomas and his brother, who had autism, were forced to sleep in the frigid garage as temperature outside plummeted to 19 degrees. When he died, Thomas’ body temperature was 76.1 degrees, 20 degrees lower than it should have been, prosecutors added.
Thomas died a few hours later of hypothermia, according to the Suffolk County Medical Office’ determination. Witnesses, including teachers at Thomas’ school, have sobbed on the stand as they recounted seeing Thomas and his brother starving, cold, with bruises and scratches, and eating crumbs from the floor.
Proceedings will continue Friday in Riverhead. Summation is expected next week, attorneys said.