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Judge to weigh evidence in murder case against Michael Valva in son's death

Michael Valva, left, and Angelina Pollina, right, have

Michael Valva, left, and Angelina Pollina, right, have been charged in the death of Valva's 8-year-old son, Thomas Valva. Credit: James Carbone

A Suffolk county judge will hold pretrial hearings in May to determine if video evidence and statements made by former NYPD officer Michael Valva, who is charged in the hypothermia death of his 8-year-old son Thomas, will be admissible at trial.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William Condon on Thursday set a May 11 date for the start of the hearings. Condon called the date "set in stone" in brief comments Thursday, alluding to prior delays in proceedings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Valva, who resigned from the force months after his arrest, and his then-fiancee Angela Pollina, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and child endangerment in Thomas’ Jan. 17, 2020 death. Prosecutors have said Valva and Pollina forced Thomas, a third-grader at East Moriches Elementary School, to sleep in a freezing garage, when the outside temperature was just 19 degrees. The pair also starved and beat Thomas, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors have described Thomas shivering on a cement slab without a pillow or blanket in the garage before his death, a scene captured on the extensive surveillance video system inside and outside the Valva home. Prosecutors have said Pollina gave detectives permission to access the video but "a simultaneous effort was made to delete the video and audio."

Valva’s attorney John LoTurco in November filed a motion seeking to throw out comments that Valva allegedly made to police, as well as the video evidence, claiming that police began searching Valva’s Center Moriches home without permission and before obtaining a warrant.

The motion also sought to hold separate trials for Valva and co-defendant Pollina.

Prosecutors are expected to respond to the motion by Friday.

Valva, who appeared to be performing CPR on Thomas in the basement when the police arrived, told authorities that Thomas had fallen in the driveway while waiting for the school bus and then lost consciousness, prosecutors have said.

Prosecutors have also alleged that after Thomas was pronounced dead at the hospital, Michael Valva was asked if he needed anything and he replied: "I’ve been through more stressful things than this."

LoTurco has called Thomas’ death a "nightmarish accidental death and clearly not a murder" and said there was a space heater in the garage on the day Thomas died.

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