RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (PIX11) — Angela Pollina has received the maximum sentence for the killing of Thomas Valva, the eight-year-old son of her fiancé. In a searing statement to Pollina in court here late Tuesday morning declaring her sentence, Judge Timothy Mazzei said that it wasn’t until he’d heard her testify during her trial last month that he “realized how evil you really are.”

Mazzei gave her the maximum sentence, but emphasized the longer term of it, rather than the shorter term of its range. “It’s the sentence of the court that you serve an indeterminate term in prison of a maximum of your natural life,” he said from the bench, “and a minimum of 25 years.”

It was the same sentence that Pollina’s fiancé, Thomas’s father, Michael Valva, had received after his trial for the same crime last year.

Thomas had lived in the home that Pollina had owned in Center Moriches. He and his then-ten-year-old brother both have autism, and had incontinence and other physical challenges.

Pollina had admitted on the stand during trial that she’d insisted to the boys’ father that his sons live in the garage of the home, after repeated bathroom problems involving the two children. They’d been moved out of their bedroom months before Thomas died, in January 2020, of hypothermia.

On the morning of January 17 of that year, when Thomas passed away, it was 19 degrees outside, and subfreezing in the garage, according to witness testimony.

At the sentencing hearing, the judge spared no words in condemning Pollina.

“You tortured those boys,” he said, from the bench. “That’s what you did.”

Judge Mazzei went on to tell Pollina, “Never once did you ever show any sorrow or compassion.”

The 45-year-old will spend at least the next two-and-a-half decades in a maximum security prison for women. The judge added, “My only regret is they don’t have a garage there, with no heat, and no mattress, and no blankets and no pillows — nothing that belongs in a bedroom — so where you could sleep for the rest of your life, [be]cause that’s where you deserve to be for the rest of your natural life.”

When asked by the judge just before sentencing if she had any comment to make on the record, Pollina said only three words: “No, Your Honor.”

Pollina was also found guilty on multiple counts of child endangerment. For those, she received concurrent one-year sentences.

Seconds after she was escorted out of the courtroom to begin her prison term, the gallery erupted into applause, which court officers had to quiet down.

Pollina’s attorney, Matthew Tuohy, said after the hearing that she plans to appeal.

Also afterward, various people connected to the case made public statements.

Pollina has three children of her own, from two previous marriages. Her birth children, all girls, are now living with their fathers. Both of them were among the people applauding in the gallery, and both spoke after the hearing.

Gino Cali, one of her ex-husbands, said that he supported Judge Mazzei’s harsh words, and maximum sentence.

“She’s gonna live better [in prison] than Thomas did,” Cali said, “and it’s disgusting.”

Pollina’s other ex-husband, Michael Ichkhan, said, “She’s getting what she deserves.”

Another person who made comments outside of the courtroom right after the sentencing was one of the jurors who’d found Pollina guilty last month.

Nick Pisano was one of a handful of jurors who’d returned to court on Tuesday to see the outcome of their verdict. He said that he and his fellow jurors are still shocked by the details of the abuse, particularly the fact that so much of it had been captured on an in-home surveillance camera system that Pollina had installed in every room, including the garage where she’d forced the boys to live.

“There was effort made to watch these kids and look at them like Big Brother,” Pisano said.

District Attorney Raymond Tierney held a news conference in his office after the sentencing was over. He also mentioned the surveillance video, which Pollina and Michael Valva had tried to erase after Thomas had died. It ended up being retrieved by detectives, and was used as key evidence in the conviction.

Joining Tierney at the news conference were Thomas’s elementary school teachers, who’d reported his abuse repeatedly to the local Child Protective Services office, to no avail. The situation is now the subject of a grand jury probe, according to the district attorney.

Also joining him at the news conference was Kerriann Kelly, the lead prosecutor in both the trials of Pollina and Michael Valva.

In her statement at the sentencing hearing which called for maximum punishment, Kelly had to pause and collect herself for a moment. Her emotions had almost started to show when she described Thomas as “a profile in courage.”

Asked at the news conference afterward to further explain what she’d meant and why it had evoked emotion for her, Kelly said that she’d had to watch hours of surveillance video from the house where Thomas and his brother had lived, including from the garage. There, the two boys with autism huddled on the bare cement floor night after night, even when temperatures were below freezing, she said.

She added that there was a large werewolf statue that Pollina had placed above the boys, looking down at them from the ceiling.

“What courage he had,” Kelly explained, “to have to go into that garage every single night, and come out every single day, and go to school soaked in urine and feces, and hold his head up, and smile and try really, really hard.”