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Former NYPD Officer Michael Valva sentenced to 25 years to life for murder of 8-year-old son

Michael Valva receives maximum sentence in 8-year-old son's murder
Michael Valva receives maximum sentence in 8-year-old son's murder 02:37

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- In one of the most heartbreaking cases ever put before a Long Island jury, a judge Thursday sentenced former NYPD officer Michael Valva to the maximum for murdering his 8-year-old son.

CBS2's Jennifer McLogan, who has covered the tragic abuse case from the beginning, was in the Riverhead courtroom when Valva spoke for the first time.

"I am truly sorry," he said.

READ MOREMichael Valva found guilty of second-degree murder in death of 8-year-old son Thomas Valva

Valva, the once strapping NYPD officer, attempted to explain away the murder of his defenseless son Thomas, who died of hypothermia after being forced to sleep in a freezing garage.

"I did not want my son to die. I never imagined he would have died. However, I lost my way," said Valva, who will serve 25 years to life.

The hushed courtroom packed with spectators included teachers, neighbors and nine of the 12 jurors who convicted Valva in November.

"Oh, it was a very emotional trial, very, very emotional," one person said.

"I think we all feel a sense of closure right now," another said.

"We saw crocodile tears come from him," another added.

READ MOREThomas Valva case: Suffolk County announces results of Child Protective Services reviews

Thomas, a slight boy with hazel eyes who loved school, was beaten and starved.

"Thomas lived as a prisoner, given a death sentence that was executed, while this defendant will have cell, with a bed, and a blanket, and a pillow, and heat," Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Keriann Kelly said.

It was nearly three years ago when the then-NYPD officer and his fiancé, Angela Polina, were arrested and charged with the tortuous death, and lying.

"My name is Michael. I'm a police officer with the City of New York. My son, I don't know if he's breathing or not. I don't know if his heart stopped. He fell down on his way to the bus. He banged his head pretty good. I brought him in. I'm doing CPR right now," Valva said on a 911 recording.

READ MOREThomas Valva case: CBS2 obtains abuse complaint records, custody hearing transcripts as investigation into his death continues

Valva and his three sons moved with Polina and her three daughters into a home on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches, when the abuse of Thomas and his brother, Anthony, who are both on the spectrum, began.

"He's already sentenced himself to a life of torment and regret," said John Loturco, Valva's attorney.

Valva's attorneys said they took a case that no one else would.

"I loved Thomas with all my heart," Valva said.

Judge William Condon became emotional while imposing the sentence.

"How did all of us, as a community, allow this to happen? We can never let this happen again," Condon said.

Thomas' mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva was not present because she is suing the county and the school district, but sent word she is broken and if Valva is never set free it would bring some measure of justice.

Valva's former fiancé, Polina, is slated for a separate murder trial in February.

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