RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (PIX11) – Former NYPD police officer Michael Valva was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Thursday for the hypothermia death of his 8-year-old son, Thomas, in 2020.

Before a packed courtroom, Valva broke down as he expressed remorse.

“I am filled with shame, broken and grief-stricken,” Valva said, as he stood before Judge William Condon in Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead. “I loved Thomas with all my heart … I did not want my son to die.”

The judge said he knew Valva did not intentionally kill his son but noted the child’s death in a freezing garage on Jan. 17, 2020, involved a crime of depraved indifference to human life, after years of abuse and starvation.

Watch Valva’s full statement:

“He was a warden who starved and abusively punished them,” Judge Condon said of Valva’s treatment of Thomas and his older brother – both on the autism spectrum. 

Earlier, the judge looked at everyone assembled for the sentencing and asked, “How did all of us, as a community, allow this to happen?”

The boy’s mother, Justyna Valva-Zubko, was not present in court. She is suing Suffolk County and its division of child services for failure to protect her three sons, who were in the custody of Valva and his fiancée, Angela Pollina. Pollina faces a separate murder trial in early 2023.

Valva’s lawyers on Thursday repeated their claims that Pollina was the abusive parent in the household.

“I failed to provide a home that was safe,” Valva told the court. “I lost focus on how to be a good father.”

At least 10 of the jurors who delivered a guilty verdict in the case were in court for the sentencing.

Prosecutors had said the boy and his brother were forced to sleep in the freezing garage on a 19-degree night with no heat, bathroom access, mattress or blankets. After Thomas soiled himself, surveillance video — shown during the trial — captured Michael screaming at his son and ordering him outside, where he hosed the boy with water in subfreezing temperatures. Thomas passed out and fell face-first onto the concrete several times, prosecutors said.

Valva put off calling 911 for nearly an hour, according to testimony and evidence presented at trial. When Thomas finally arrived at the hospital, his internal body temperature was 76.1 degrees. The Suffolk medical examiner determined the boy died of hypothermia.

The trial also included horrific testimony and evidence that painted a picture of years of abuse in the Center Moriches home. Employees at the boys’ school testified they’d seen Thomas and his brother eat food off the floor, grab half-eaten food from the garbage and take food from other students. They also said the boys would occasionally arrive at school in soiled clothes, smelling of urine and feces.