A RIVERHEAD, Long Island (PIX11) — Angela Pollina, accused of killing her fiancé’s eight-year-old son by letting him freeze to death, returned to the witness stand on Wednesday.
Unlike when she first took the stand on Tuesday, when she was questioned by her own lawyer, Pollina was questioned by the prosecution on Wednesday.
The chief of the district attorney’s homicide department led the two-and-a-half-hour interrogation, which was based on the copious amounts of home security video and mobile texts obtained from Pollina and her fiance, Michael Valva.
Valva, a former member of the NYPD, was found guilty of second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child last year. He was given a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Pollina may be found guilty of the same crimes and executed in the same manner.
Thomas Valva died after spending the night in the garage with one of his siblings at the home he shared with his parents, Pollina, and her two young girls. The temperature that night in the garage was 19 degrees, and it was not heated.
The medical examiner determined that Thomas’s body temperature had dropped to 76.1 degrees, indicating that the boy had died of hypothermia.
Pollina testified in court on Wednesday, arguing that although she had helped in mistreating the boys, her fiance Michael Valva was ultimately to blame for Thomas’s death.
Matt Tuohy, her attorney, indicated whether she was free to testify or not.
He stated in an interview outside of court that she wanted that. “she wished to take the stand and [testify]. She is anxious, yet she must express herself.
In a flurry of questions, Chief Murder Bureau Prosecutor Kerriann Kelly drew many admissions of guilt out of Pollina.
The prosecution included the hundreds of hours of surveillance footage from Pollina’s Center Moriches house in one of their filings. Thomas and his brother were made to sleep in the garage, which was monitored by a webcam.
Despite this, seven videos recorded about 9:00 a.m. on January 17, 2020—the day Thomas died—were erased.
Kelly, the prosecutor, grilled Pollina repeatedly about the missing Nest camera data.
What happened to Thomas that morning was captured on camera, and you destroyed all of the footage, right? It was Kelly who posed the question.
Sure, Pollina said in response.
The prosecutor also directed Pollina to view and discuss footage from the garage Nest camera during her testimony. There were pictures of Thomas and his brother laying on the cold cement floor the night before he died.
The jury members also sat quietly and watched.
The prosecutor questioned Pollina about the dozens of text message transcripts that were also presented as evidence alongside the video from the Nest camera.
She asked, “Ms. Pollina,” alluding to a letter that described Thomas and his two siblings as “dirty, unclean, and stinky,” “is that fair to imply, in your own words, the boys were…?”
Pollina confirmed this on the stand.
Though she and her lawyer acknowledge her harsh past, they maintain she is innocent of the boy’s death.
“We’re going to throw it all on the line, and we’re going to be transparent,” Tuohy, the defense attorney, said. There is nothing to fear from us. She’s going to take responsibility for her actions (and inactions).
On Wednesday night, Tuohy resumed his cross-examination of Pollina, which he had begun on Tuesday. This line of questioning, known as re-direct, will be continued on Thursday morning. Subsequently, the closing arguments are presented.
According to court sources, the jury could hear the case as early as this Friday.