The trial heard testimony from the family housekeeper Tyrene Rodriguez on Monday.
As she described the morning Tommy died, she explained how she was gathering supplies from the mud room where the family dog Bella slept, when the tiny detail was seized upon by the Suffolk County prosecutor.
"And that's a heated room, correct?" he asked. "Yes," she responded, per WPIX.
She said she arrived around 9 AM, as Tommy's step-mother Angela Pollina was sitting at the kitchen island making out bills. She said they "shot the breeze", until she heard a child crying.
"I asked her who was crying; she said 'Thomas is. He fell running for the bus.'"
When Rodriguez asked if he was going to be alright, she replied "Yeah, he'll be okay.'"
As she started to clean the bathroom, she heard the alarm system alert that the garage door was being opened, and looked over her shoulder to see Tommy being "escorted" in front and between his father and step-mother. They headed towards the basement and she continued cleaning.
But five or ten minutes later, Pollina returned hysterical and said Tommy wasn't breathing.
She ran down to the basement and saw Michael performing CPR on the boy; "I knelt by Thomas' head to hold him steady while Mike was compressing his chest." Pollina meanwhile "was just standing behind us. Just freaking out."
She said Tommy "was completely naked. He was very blue. His lips were blue."
When asked if Pollina had told her Tommy had soiled or defecated himself, she said "I think I heard them say that when I went down in the basement. I was wondering why he was naked."
She watched the paramedics arrive: "They pulled out those paddles and then they realized there was nothing happening," she said, adding they "put a silver blanket on him" before taking him away.
She noted his father changed his clothes before getting into the ambulance with them.
The trial continues.
update 5/12/2021 10:45 AM
Michael Valva broke down in tears in court on Tuesday as he listened to his own 911 call for the son he is accused of murdering.
The chilling audio from January 17 of last year was played at a pre-trial hearing at Suffolk County Supreme Court; it shows the former police officer telling the dispatcher how his 8-year-old had "stopped breathing" after he "fell down and banged his head." Coroners would later confirm the cause of death was hypothermia, after the boy was allegedly forced to sleep on a freezing cold garage floor overnight.
One of the first things he tells the dispatcher is he "gave him a shower to try and help him out a little bit."
"I don't know if he's breathing or not… His heart stopped. He fell down on his way to the bus. He banged his head pretty good."
He told the dispatcher he was doing CPR, asking if it was normal for his stomach to be filling with air. "His belly is filling up a lot as I'm doing CPR," he said.
"Are you sure he's not breathing?" he is asked to which he replies, chuckling: "I don't know, to be honest."
Valva's lawyer John LoTurco told the court it was the first time his client had listened to the recording: "That was an emotional moment for him and I imagine for Angela as well," he said.
If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.
update 3/11/2020 1:11 PM
The little brother of the boy who froze to death in an unheated garage has described their ordeal in heartbreaking detail.
In a pair of videos uploaded to YouTube, six-year-old Andrew Valva recalled the abuse he claimed he and his two brothers suffered at the hands of their NYPD cop dad Michael Valva, and his fiancee Angela Pollina.
The couple have pleaded not guilty to the murder of eight-year-old Tommy Valva, who died of hypothermia in January after allegedly being forced to sleep overnight on the garage floor while temperatures plummeted to just 19 degrees.
He said he could hear his brothers crying for help inside, but he dared not go in himself, because he would be punished too.
"Sometimes Angela and dad stayed out all day, and Anthony and Thomas stayed at home with the door locked," he said, starting to get upset. "And they had to hold their pee in all day until they came back home."
If they said anything about it at school, Andrew said they would be locked up for three days and "slapped on the butt."
When his mom asked if he ever saw injuries or "boo-boos" on his brothers' bodies, he replied "almost everywhere."
"When dad beat them up they had this little thing on their heads right here bleeding, and put a band aid on it," he said, recalling two incidents where each brother was left with bleeding head wounds. They were never taken to the doctor, he said.
Justyna, trying to hide her emotions, then asks if the boys were ever fed.
"Only once a day," the youngster replied. "Just a sandwich, that's it." He said he heard his brothers complain about hunger.
When asked why the bothers never had accidents at school, he replied "That's because they go to the bathroom at school, the teachers allow them." At home, he said, "The opposite."
"Thank you for telling me that," his mother tells him on the verge of tears. "You're welcome," he quietly replies before resuming watching YouTube.
Valva is still facing 25 years to life in prison for the death of his son if he is found guilty.
"Michael Valva's Court appointed private attorney Mr. LoTurco should stop making false and misleading statements to media outlets in order to justify the brutal murder of my son Tommy from the hands of his father Michael Valva, and his fiance Angela Pollina," Justyna wrote in the description.
"Thomas murder was NOT an accident but the tragic result of many years long non-stop sadistic abuse done by those two abusers. The evidence in this case prove that this WAS NOT an accident, the garage was freezing and unheated, my children were locked in the garage without possibility to get out or use the bathroom, and they were forced to sleep on concrete floor without mattress, blankets, or pillows," she continued to assert. "The justice for Tommy, Anthony, and Andrew needs to be served!"
In the video, Andrew also confirms there were two cameras in the garage. Prosecutors said there were surveillance cameras in every room of the house, with the ones in the garage grimly labeled "kids room". They said footage shows the two older brothers sleeping on the hard concrete floor, shivering.
Citing the recordings, Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe said the couple even mocked Thomas for being cold the day he died.
"Do you know why he's falling?" Pollina asked, according to Newcombe, to which his father replied: "Because he's cold. Boo f–-king hoo."
Valva initially told his paramedics and his police colleagues that his son had fallen in the driveway before he died, according to reports.