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Woman gets max sentence for killing stepson with autism after forcing him to sleep in freezing garage

By Brooke Villanueva Published Apr 13, 2023 5:58 pm Updated Apr 13, 2023 6:10 pm

A woman has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of her stepson with autism. 

According to an April 11 report by NBC New York, Angela Pollina was found guilty on all counts in March this year, just a few months after her ex-fiance Michael Valva was convicted of murder and given the same maximum sentence in December 2022.

NBC New York reported that the 8-year-old boy named Thomas died of hypothermia in early 2020 after Angela and Michael forced him and his 10-year-old brother Anthony—who are both children with special needs—to sleep in their freezing garage overnight. Investigators said it served as their “punishment for constant urinating and defecating in the house.”

Throughout the trial that lasted for two weeks, Pollina’s lawyers kept reiterating that she didn’t kill her stepchild as they noted she was his “primary caregiver” when he was still alive. This, even though authorities found a “disturbing series of allegations” like “extreme punishment, starvation, being locked in a frigid garage for hours” by Angela and Michael in the days that followed Thomas’s death.

The jury convicted her on four counts of child endangerment and second-degree murder.

As stated in a separate report by CBS News, Suffolk Supreme Court Judge Timothy Mazzei had this to say to Angela after he pronounced her sentence: "I've had the opportunity to visit the prison where you will be sent. My only regret, Ms. Pollina, is that they don't have a garage there with no heat, no mattress, no blankets, no pillows.”