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Melissa Lewis’s murder by Tony Villegas was very personal – Six Degrees of Murder

Photo of Tony Villegas
Tony Villegas, who features on Six Degrees of Murder, as he received his sentence

This week Six Degrees of Murder looks at the very personal murder of lawyer Melissa Britt Lewis.

Melissa worked at Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm in Fort Lauderdale, where she was close friends with workmate Debra Villegas.

Her friend was having trouble with her marriage and Lewis had just gone through a divorce herself.

She was supporting her friend and the pair spent a lot of time together with their children.

However, Debra’s husband Tony Villegas was not happy about their relationship and thought that Lewis was a bad influence on his wife.

He was jealous of Melissa’s closeness to her and his kids.

He also thought she was perhaps even partly responsible for the marital problems he and his wife were having.

It was March 5, 2008, that Lewis was last seen alive. The next day her absence at work caused some concern amongst her friends and when a pest control worker went to her house he found the garage open and her SUV missing.

On March 7 her body was found near a pump station. She had been strangled to death.

Her car was found nearby and about a week after the murder police arrested Tony Villegas.

He’d been, and he blamed her for the estrangement.

In June 2016 Villegas was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The judge noted that this was a very “personal” crime, with him strangling Lewis to death with his bare hands.

Six Degrees of Murder: Going Places airs at 6:00 P.M. on Investigation Discovery.

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