Step mum-from-hell Angela Pollina was found guilty in the murder of eight-year-old Thomas Valva after he was forced to spend over 16 hours in a freezing garage. Pollina’s lawyer had attempted to reverse her fate days before by conceding she had behaved like a “b**ch” and been “evil” with the boy. Thomas died at Pollina’s Long Island home in the United States.
Pollina now faces 25 years to life in prison after admitting she had forced Thomas’s father, Michael Valva, to leave the boy in subzero conditions after months of emotional abuse.
She contributed to her own downfall after testifying this week she had been “comfortable” insider while the eight-year-old, who suffered from autism, desperately fought for his life in the garage.
Pollina attempted to win over jurors by admitting she had mistreated Thomas and his older brother Anthony – but insisted their father was to blame for his death.
She said: “I treated them bad. I treated them evil. I put them in the garage. It was horrible. Yes, I did … I exiled them.”
Some members of the jury were reduced to tears as Pollina’s abusive text messages were read out in court. In the messages, the 45-year-old referred to Thomas as a “SOB” for stealing a dirty blanket from a hamper in an attempt to warm up.
Thomas’s body temperature plummeted as low as 24c after spending hours in the garage and being hosed down with cold water.
He also appeared emaciated, with sunken hips and a chronic kidney infection caused by having to hold in his urine for hours.
Following the verdict, Suffolk County DA Raymond Tierney said: “The cruelty that Thomas and his brother had to endure because of this defendant’s callous and selfish conduct is abhorrent, and, thankfully, the jury clearly agreed.
“Her treatment of these children was nothing short of pure evil. This defendant will now face the consequences of her actions and will experience her own imprisonment just as she forced these boys to live imprisoned in a freezing garage.”
Pollina’s lawyer, Matthew Tuohy, argued throughout the trial that Michale Valva was the main culprit in the murder case.
Valva was found guilty of Thomas’s murder in November and sentenced to 25 years to life in December.
Tuohy said: “Yeah, she was a bad person before … but not on that day. She wanted the boys exiled to the garage. She got up and owned it, she said … it was wrong.
“We don’t convict people because they’re bitches.”
But ADA Kerriann Kelly showed no sympathy for Pollina, reiterating she played a pivotal role in Thomas’s death.
Kelly said: “She forced him out into the cold! Thomas was tortured and died for the sin of being autistic.
“He was not allowed in the house, not allowed to use a bathroom. That was all because of this defendant.”
A juror told The Post following the verdict that “there was no question in my mind” about Pollina’s role in Thomas’s death.
They said: “Her words, her tone, the text messages, the videos there was no other way to find her.”
Another said: “There was an 8-year-old boy that had died… when I heard what the charges are… I thought that fits her.”
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