Court video above courtesy: James Carbone/Newsday
RIVERHEAD, NY — A Suffolk County judge ruled Thursday that extensive home surveillance footage will be allowed into the murder trial of ex-NYPD officer, Michael Valva, and his former fiancee, Angela Pollina, who are both accused of allowing Valva’s 8-year-old son, Thomas, to freeze to death.
The surveillance reportedly shows the final days and hours in the boy’s life.
“It’s important evidence,” District Attorney Timothy Sini told PIX11 after the judge’s ruling. “Most of the evidence will be about the two of them acting in concert.”
Prosecutors said last year at the former couple’s arraignment that Angela Pollina dragged the boy down a staircase a day and a half before he died because the boy had soiled his pajamas. The prosecutors said the father mocked his son’s discomfort, by text, when the 8-year-old child was freezing on the garage floor. Investigators also said the boy was “face-planting” on the garage’s concrete surface in the last hours of his life on Jan. 17, 2020.
Michael Valva had told a 911 operator Thomas Valva hurt himself when he fell while running for the school bus.
Defense attorneys for Michael Valva tried to portray Angela Pollina as the “wicked stepmother” during pre-trial hearings.
The two defendants will blame each other for the boy’s death.
Thomas Valva’s body temperature was just 76 degrees at the time of his death.
Judge William Condon announced in court Thursday two separate juries will hear the case against Valva and Pollina, possibly at one trial starting in October. Defense attorneys pushed for separate trials. A decision will come next month.
Over 36 witnesses are expected to testify at trial, including teachers from the East Moriches School District.
Teachers and other school personnel made at least 20 calls to the New York State Child Abuse Hotline about Thomas Valva and his older brother, who were both on the autism spectrum.
The teachers said the boys came to school malnourished, scouring trash cans for food, and there was evidence of bruising and signs that hair had been pulled from their heads.
Michael Valva’s three sons started living with him and Pollina in Suffolk County, a couple of years after Valva won a custody battle in Nassau County against his ex-wife, Justyna.
Defense attorneys are concerned about the prosecution’s efforts to try both defendants together.
“This is going to be nothing short of a nightmare trial,” said one of Valva’s attorneys, Anthony LaPinta, “if you choose two juries” for one case.