In March 2008, a young, driven lawyer at a law firm in Florida was brutally killed. At first, it was hard to figure out why she was killed. Then, a legal problem that her firm was involved in made things even worse.
The show “Six Degrees of Murder: Going Places” on Investigation Discovery looks into this case. The police found both physical and non-physical evidence that helped them catch the killer. So, if you want to know what happened to Melissa, you can count on us.
Who Was Melissa Lewis?
Melissa was born in Florida in November 1968. She was born in Jacksonville. Before getting her GED and going to college, the well-liked 39-year-old worked at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She always wanted to be a lawyer, and after college, her dream came true.
She worked at Rothstein Rosenfeldt & Adler and became a partner there. Even though she was very busy with work and success, she always made time for her family, especially her nieces, who she loved very much.
How was Melissa Lewis Murdered?
On March 5, 2008, after she got off work, Melissa Lewis went to the Publix grocery store on her way home. She was made a partner at the company and was supposed to be there for a meeting. When she didn’t show up, her coworkers became worried and asked the authorities to check on her.
When the police got to Lewis’s house, they saw that her garage door was open and her car was gone. Also, the grocery bags were left behind, and inside the garage, there were signs of a fight, like pepper spray marks on the door. On the floor was also a button from her coat, which she wore to work the day she went missing. This made the police think that she had been attacked.
Read More: What Was the Cause of Dj Sumbody’s Death?
Who Was Behind This Master-Plaining Murder?
When police found out that Tony Villegas was having problems with his wife and was about to get a divorce, he quickly became the main suspect in the murder case. Debra Coffey was Melissa Lewis’s best friend. It was said that Villegas thought Lewis was the reason Debra and him broke up. Their phone Lewis was also followed to Hialeah, where Villegas was living at the time with a roommate.
Tony Villegas, Coffey’s soon-to-be ex-husband, was reportedly staying with a friend in Hialeah, close to the tower where Lewis’ phone was tapped. Villegas’ phone records also showed that he was at the same place where Melissa’s phone was found on the night she was killed.
How Police Found the Murderer?
Tony Villegas’ roommate said that Villegas came home later on the night Melissa Lewis was killed and asked him how to get rid of pepper spray residue. This information and the fact that pepper spray was found in Lewis’ garage showed that he may have killed her. The victim’s coat was later tested, and Villegas‘ DNA was found on it.
Six years after Melissa Lewis was killed, in June 2016, a jury decided that Tony Villegas was to blame after deliberating for less than two hours. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and put in prison for life.
Where is Tony Villegas Currently?
Tony was found guilty of first-degree murder in July 2016. The defense didn’t offer a different reason why the murder happened, but they did stress that there was reasonable doubt. People thought that Scott Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme had something to do with the murder, but Melissa was never charged in that case.
Tony was given a life sentence in the same month. After he was found guilty, Melissa’s aunt said, “With this selfish act of jealousy, you hurt not only our family but also your own. We will all feel the pain of this loss for the rest of our lives, but we forgive you.” He is still locked up in Lake City, Florida, at the Columbia Correctional Institution.