Thomas Valva trial: Opening statements begin in murder trial of Angela Pollina

Opening statements were held Monday in the trial of Angela Pollina, the second person charged in the death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva.

Former NYPD officer Michael Valva was sentenced late last year to 25 years to life in prison for killing his 8-year-old son. 

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Thomas Valva died after authorities say Michael Valva and Angela Pollina forced Thomas and his brother, both diagnosed with autism, to sleep in the family's unheated garage because they struggled with bed-wetting.

Prosecutors described Pollina as evil, wicked, and inhumane as they painted a picture of years of abuse at her hands. 

They went on to explain her controlling nature, saying the caregiver turned house disciplinarian insisted Valva’s boys call her "Mom" and that she waited a full hour to call the police the morning Thomas died even though she knew he was hypothermic. 

However, Pollina's attorney, Matthew Tuohy, believes otherwise and placed the blame on Valva.  He told the jury Pollina plans to take the stand and be transparent. Her mom and sister were in court as he explained the importance of hearing the whole story.

"It’s really what happened in the beginning of the day until the tragedy unfolded, and it was the father that was in total control," Tuohy said. "The end of it unfolded in front of my client. She actually tried to help."

The trial is expected to last three to four weeks. Twenty to 25 witnesses including first responders and teachers are expected to take the stand. Pollina faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty on the top count.