RIVERHEAD, NY – Former NYPD cop Michael Valva wiped tears from his eyes as a family housekeeper recounted the heartbreaking final minutes of her 8-year-old son’s life at the preliminary hearing in his murder case on Monday.
But there was a brief moment in the housekeeper’s testimony that almost escaped notice.
When Tyrene Rodriguez spoke about getting her cleaning supplies in the mud room, where the Bella family dog stayed, the Suffolk County District Attorney noted, “And it’s a heated room, isn’t it?” isn’t it? ”
The cleaning lady replied, “Yes.”
At the heart of the prosecution’s case is medical evidence that Thomas Valva died of hypothermia, after being forced to sleep in a frozen garage on a 19-degree winter night, allegedly because he soiled his pajamas.
The dog, meanwhile, slept in a heated room on the same floor.
When the housekeeper arrived at the house that Michael Valva shared with his then-fiancée Angela Pollina at around 9 a.m. on January 17, 2020, she said that Pollina was sitting on the kitchen island in preparing invoices.
Then Tyrene Rodriguez said she heard a child cry.
“I asked him who was crying; she said “Thomas is. He fell running for the bus.
When the housekeeper expressed her concern, she said Pollina replied, “ Yes, he will be fine. ”
Rodriguez testified that she had started cleaning a small bathroom on the first floor, then heard an electronic voice announcing that the garage door was opening.
“And then I looked over my right shoulder and saw Mike, Thomas and Angela,” Rodriguez recalls. “[Thomas] was, like, escorted between the two, but he was in front of them.
Rodriguez said the group headed for the basement stairs as she continued her cleaning.
But five or ten minutes later, Rodriguez said a restless and hysterical Pollina returned to the bathroom and said Thomas was not breathing.
The cleaning lady said she rushed to the basement and heard a 911 operator tell Michael Valva to do CPR on a hard surface instead of the sofa, so the father moved the boy to the ground.
“I knelt down next to Thomas’ head to keep him steady while Mike understood his chest,” Rodriguez said.
When Michael Valva’s defense attorney asked what Angela Pollina was doing, the housekeeper replied, “She was standing right behind us. I’m just panicking.
When the prosecution had the opportunity to redirect, the housekeeper admitted that she and Pollina were talking at the kitchen island when she arrived home, unaware that something was wrong. not.
“We pulled the breeze,” Rodriguez said, until she heard the boy’s screams.
The housekeeper knew Thomas was on the autism spectrum.
The prosecutor asked Rodriguez to describe the scene when she arrived in the basement and saw Thomas on the couch receiving CPR.
“He was completely naked,” Rodriguez said. “He was very blue. Her lips were blue.
The prosecutor asked the housekeeper if Pollina told her that Thomas had defecated on himself and urinated.
“I think I heard them say that when I went down to the basement,” Rodriguez testified. “I wondered why he was naked.”
“He made noises as the air was pushing out of his body,” Rodriguez recalls.
The housekeeper said as the paramedics arrived, “They took out those paddles and then they realized that nothing was happening.”
It was then that first responders “put a silver blanket on him” and took Thomas away, Rodriguez said.
She recalled that Michael Valva had changed his clothes before boarding the ambulance for the ride with Thomas to the Long Island Community Hospital.
Rodriguez testified that Pollina appeared to be responding well to questions from the police at the house.
But earlier, neighbor Laura Lauretta testified in the defense that Angela Pollina appeared to be outside when she arrived at the ER to find Pollina in a cubicle.
“She was lying in bed,” Lauretta testified. “I said, ‘Angela, what happened, what happened?’ She was not responding. And then the nurse said to me, “I gave her something to relax her.
“She was groggy, she was sleepy, she was moaning,” Lauretta testified. “Two policemen came in and asked me to come out.
Pollina’s defense attorney, Matt Tuohy, will make a big deal that his client was sedated with Xanax at the hospital, before he is asked to sign a police search form later at the house.
“She never gave anyone permission to enter the house,” Tuohy told PIX11 in court. “They should have got a warrant.
“These are really important questions that permeate the whole thing,” Tuohy added.
The prosecution asked Laura Lauretta if Pollina ever texted her for the police to leave the house.
Lauretta said no.
Suggest a correction