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Thomas Valva Case: New Attorney Calls Death 'Tragic Accident,' Says Michael Valva 'Emotionally Distraught'

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - The new attorney for the NYPD cop charged in the murder of his son Thomas Valva is calling the incident a "tragic accident."

He also says Michael Valva is "emotionally distraught" and on suicide watch.

Justyna Zubko-Valva was embraced outside of court. She was wearing a pin honoring the memory of her son Thomas.

Michael Valva and his fiancee, Angela Pollina, are facing charges in connection to the death of Valva's 8-year-old son, Thomas. (Photos Provided)

Accused child murderer Michael Valva faced a judge with a haircut, shave, blue suit and claims of proof that he's broke.

"He received a letter from the city of New York declaring him AWOL from his employment as a New York City policeman, so they have ceased paying him. At this point in time in time he is essentially indigent," his attorney said.

That makes him eligible for a court appointed attorney at taxpayer expense, which outrage his estranged wife.

"Court appointed private attorney that obviously, as the taxpayers, we all pay for the attorney appointed to the murder of my son. And that's not acceptable," she said.

Prominent criminal defense attorney John LoTurco will receive $75 an hour to defend the suspended NYPD officer after multiple lawyers refused. Legal Aid does not take on homicide cases.

"The facts will come out and it will show this was an accidental death," LoTurco said.

LoTurco was heckled in the hallway when he said Valva is on suicide watch and is extremely distraught.

Valva's attorney doubts his client can get a fair trial here and says the potential jury pool is tainted. He hopes to get the venue changed, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

Police and prosecutors words like "house of horrors" and "monster" are untrue, LoTurco says. The garage was unlocked and a heater plugged in.

Thomas Valva
(credit: Valva family)

"The space heater was turned on that night and we will have the space heater examined," LoTurco said.

Meantime, Thomas' mother's wish for bodycams on CPS investigators is picking up support from some Suffolk County legislators.

"Particularly a piece of legislation I've put forward that calls for interviews to be videotaped between case workers and the subjects that they are interviewing," said Suffolk County legislator Tom Cilmi.

Changes to the system are underway as the criminal case against Michael Valva and fiancee Angela Pollina continues.

The defense attorney says both Michael Valva and his sons have psychological issues and that will be addressed during the trial.

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