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Ex-NYPD officer Michael Valva gets maximum sentence in autistic son's death

Michael Valva and Angela Pollina
Suffolk County Sheriff's Office

A Suffolk County judge sentenced Michael Valva 25 years to life for the murder of his 8-year-old son, Thomas.

Last month, a jury convicted Valva of murder and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The evidence in the trial included video of Thomas sleeping on the floor in an unheated garage, a flood of reports made to Child Protective Services, and testimony from teachers that Thomas often came to school hungry and with marks on his body.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said he will continue prosecuting those involved in the death of Thomas, including Valva's finance Angela Pollina, in the coming months.

“Beyond that we have to make sure we do everything we can to ensure we prevent something like this from ever happening again,” Tierney said.

Tierney didn’t offer specifics and what steps his office would take. Before the pandemic, his predecessor, Tim Sini, had announced a special grand jury to investigate missteps in Thomas’ death.

Valva was a retired NYPD officer and had spoken to social service workers. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a “top-to-bottom” review of the county's social services.

Suffolk lawmakers have been blocked from getting records about the case.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.