Ex-NYPD cop Michael Valva put his children through years of hellish abuse — culminating in the 2020 freezing death of his autistic 8-year-old son, prosecutors alleged Wednesday during opening statements at his murder trial.
Little Thomas Valva and his 10-year-old brother Anthony were bruised, starved and forced to sleep on dog pads by their dad and his then-fiancée, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe told jurors, according to Newsday.
“I will beat them until they bleed,” Valva allegedly texted once to his bride-to-be about the boys, Newcombe said. “It is the only thing that works.”
The brothers, both of whom had special-needs, were so badly neglected that officials at their schools said they would arrive for class in soiled clothing and dig through the garbage for food, the prosecutor said.
“They were observed at school literally eating crumbs off the floor,” Newcombe said in the Riverhead courtroom.
Valva, 43, initially claimed his young son fell and hit his head during a 911 call on Jan. 17, 2020. Prosecutors say the boy was forced to spend the night locked in an unheated garage at the Central Moriches home the disgraced cop shared with fiancée Angela Polina.
Thomas died due to extreme hypothermia after spending up to 16 hours inside the garage with his brother, authorities said.
Valva and Polina are both charged with second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the case and are being tried separately.
Prosecutors said the abuse of the boys began right after the couple moved into the home at 11 Bittersweet Lane in 2017, along with Polina’s three daughters.
In court Wednesday, one of Valva’s lawyers blamed Polina for Thomas’ death.
Attorney Anthony La Pinta told jurors that his client, emotionally and financially drained after a costly divorce, looked the other way to maintain his relationship with Polina.
“He tried his best to salvage the relationship,” La Pina said. “Eleven Bittersweet Lane was becoming more bitter by the day.”
He said Polina even griped that Valva was “making it too comfortable” for his kids.
He said Valva provided the boys with mattresses, blankets, books and a TV set, but claims Polina would not allow them to keep the items after they soiled themselves.
“This was not a senseless act of evil,” La Pinta told jurors. “You need to think with your heads and not with your hearts.”
Valva faces up to life in prison, if convicted.
Some 36 witnesses are reportedly expected to testify at Valva’s trial, which could last one month.