The former NYPD officer accused of killing his 8-year-old son told 911 operators he was trying to revive the boy with CPR, but the first Suffolk officer to respond testified Tuesday she did not see the father giving his son aid.
“My son’s not breathing,” Michael Valva said in the 911 call he made to Suffolk police on the morning of Jan. 17, 2020. “He fell down. He banged his head … He stopped breathing.”
The dramatic 911 call was played in a Riverhead courtroom Tuesday during a pretrial hearing to determine whether other evidence in the case, including video and audio surveillance from the home, will be admissible at trial. Key to that issue is whether responding police saw surveillance cameras when they first arrived or, as the defense contends, while doing an illegal search.
Valva, along with his co-defendant and then-fiancee Angela Pollina, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and child endangerment charges in Thomas’ death and the alleged abuse of Thomas’ older brother.
Authorities said Thomas died of hypothermia after Valva and Pollina forced the boy and his older brother, Anthony, to sleep in an unheated garage at the couple’s home on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches on that frigid January night.
Valva, 42, and Pollina, 43, both appeared in the courtroom Tuesday wearing masks. Valva’s ankles were shackled, while Pollina, who was wearing black wedge shoes, was not in shackles.
Valva removed his glasses and dabbed his eyes with tissue as he listened to the 911 call. Pollina also briefly cried while the call was played.
On the 911 call, Valva was heard counting aloud, as if to coincide with chest compressions he was administering to Thomas.
Valva, a veteran NYPD officer, told the operators: “His belly is filling up a lot as I’m doing CPR. … Is that normal?”
At one point, one of the 911 operator asked if Thomas was breathing.
Valva chuckled slightly and replied: “I don’t know, to be honest.”
Seventh Precinct Suffolk Police Officer Cassidy Lessard testified that when she entered the basement of the Valva home at about 9:45 a.m., she saw Michael Valva kneeling at the head of Thomas, who was wearing only a pair of gray sweatpants, pulled up to his knees, and socks. Michael Valva was not performing CPR on his son, but was on his cellphone, Lessard said.
Defense attorneys for both defendants have asked Supreme Court Justice William Condon to suppress video and audio from a surveillance system at their Center…
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