On March 5, 2008, the day Melissa Britt Lewis was killed, her best friend, Debra Villegas, had scheduled a deposition in her divorce from her allegedly abusive husband, Tony Villegas.
Debra had kicked Tony out of the house more than a year earlier, but their divorce proceedings had been progressing slowly. In a sworn interview, Debra told the Plantation police that her attorney had called weeks earlier and asked her if she was available to give a deposition on March 5. She agreed.
But then, according to Debra, Tony's attorney never officially confirmed the time or scheduled the deposition, so it never happened. She told the police that she wasn't sure if Tony even knew about it.
He didn't even know that my depo was set," Debra said in a sworn interview. "He didn't know about it...because his attorney said that, you know, it wasn't a real date and we just cleared in over the phone."
Except Tony Villegas might not have been as ignorant as his estranged wife thought.
On March 5, 2008, Tony came home from work around 5:30 p.m., then told his roommate that he was leaving for an appointment with his attorney.
"He came home, took a shower and left," the roommate, Wilset Pascual, told the Plantation police in a sworn interview.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"He didn't mention the attorney's name he was going to see?" a detective asked Pascual.
"No. It was a deposition, if I am not mistaken, a deposition," Pascual said.
When the police later questioned Tony directly, he told them that on March 5, he was either home or at one of his two sisters' houses. He "denied any involved in the murder of Melissa Lewis," according to the police report.
Tony Villegas has since been charged with first-degree murder. He's pleaded not guilty, and remains in the Broward County jail awaiting trial.