Broward News

Melissa Britt Lewis Murder Trial Postponed -- Again

It's been nearly four years since Melissa Britt Lewis, a 39-year-old Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler attorney, was found murdered, her body dumped in a Plantation canal. The man charged with killing her avoided trial for years because he was initially deemed mentally incompetent.

Tony Villegas, 48, was finally supposed to face a jury next week, but today his attorney received a continuance in the case. The trial date has not yet been rescheduled. Al Milian, a member of Villegas'  defense team, could not immediately be reached for comment this morning. Villegas has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Lewis' murder has been back in the headlines thanks to the recent deposition of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. Lawyers grilled Rothstein about his relationship with Lewis and suggested she might have been killed because "she knew too much."

Lewis made partner at RRA months before her death in March 2008. She was also best friends with Debra Villegas, Rothstein's right-hand woman at the firm, who is now in prison for aiding her boss with the Ponzi scheme.

Outsiders have long wondered if Lewis was killed because she discovered the scheme. But Rothstein has never been charged in connection with her death. Prosecutors allege that Tony Villegas, Debra's ex-husband, was violent and abusive and blamed Lewis for his divorce.

During his deposition, Rothstein blistered at the suggestion he was involved in the murder, getting so upset that he had to take a break from being questioned.

"Are you attempting to insinuate that I had something to do with that poor girl's death?" he told attorney Mary Barzee Flores. "Have you lost your mind?

"You're disgusting. Everyone knows that I wasn't involved in it. That's disgusting."

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Lisa Rab
Contact: Lisa Rab