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."
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.