LONG ISLAND, NY – Angela Pollina – Former fiancee of Michael Valva, an ex-NYPD officer convicted of the murder of his 8-year-old son Thomas, who died of hypothermia after being forced to sleep in the cold garage of his father’s sleep – is scheduled to take a stand in her own defense on Tuesday.
Matthew Tuohy, Pollina’s defense attorney, told Patch that Pollina would take a stand after prosecutors dropped her case. He said she was the only witness he was calling to the stand.
After prosecutors cross-examine Pollina, closing arguments will follow and then the jury will deliberate.
Tuohy maintains Pollina’s innocence, as he has done since the trial began. “So far the evidence has been emotionally driven but the facts clearly show that she is not guilty of murder and that it is Valva who acted alone in killing his son.”
Tuohy added, “He did it. He committed the deeds. And she tried to help the boy.”
Valva and Pollina were arrested on January 24, 2020 and charged with second-degree murder and quadruple child endangerment. Each faced a life sentence of 25 years and both pleaded not guilty.
The jury convicted Valva of second-degree murder and quadruple child endangerment by Thomas’ death. The boy froze to death in the Moriches Center garage. His father was sentenced to 25 years of life imprisonment.
Opening arguments were heard last week. Since then, teachers and the principal of East Moriches Elementary School have made emotional statements, as they did in Valva’s trial, describing the boys who came to school bruised, urine drenched, starved and always cold. Detectives and others who responded to the home have also testified.
Pollina will “take a 100 percent position,” Tuohy said last week. “She will admit what she didn’t do – commit the crime. It is clear that Michael Valva did it.”
It was Valva who washed Thomas with water from an icy tap in 19-degree weather, Tuohy said. Pollina wasn’t the only person there; The housekeeper is also present, he said. And Pollina brought towels to help, he said.
On Monday, Suffolk Police Sgt. Norberto Flores testified over text messages and videos sent to Valva by Pollina, according to Newsday, showing Thomas desperately trying to keep warm by throwing a towel from the laundry months before his death wrapped around himself in the garage.
“He’s not coming into this house,” Pollina said, according to the Newsday Post.
During Valva’s trial, a witness, a plumber, said he saw Pollina throw a child down the stairs. Evidence of lyrics was also shown reflecting Pollina’s frustration with Thomas and his older brother’s incontinence and her statement that she didn’t want them in the house. Valva’s defense team painted a picture of Valva as a man stressed out about finances with nowhere to go with his boys if he had to leave the home he shared with Pollina.
Thomas and his brother were forced to sleep in the cold garage as outside temperatures plummeted to 19 degrees, prosecutors said. When he died, Thomas’ body temperature was 76.1 degrees, 20 degrees lower than it should have been.
Thomas’ mother Justyna Zubko-Valva asked for help on her Twitter page before her son died. In 2020, Zubko-Valva filed a $200 million wrongful death lawsuit.
Zubko-Valva has not responded to requests for comment.
In June, a judge ruled that portions of the $200 million lawsuit filed by Zubko-Valva following Thomas’s death can proceed, a judge ruled.