Closing arguments begin in Tony Villegas murder trial

Prosecutors say man killed attorney whom he blamed for his divorce

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Closing arguments began Monday in the trial of a South Florida man accused of killing an attorney and dumping her body in a canal.

Tony Villegas, 52, is charged with murder in the death of Melissa Lewis, a partner in convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's now-defunct law firm.

Villegas was arrested in 2008 after Lewis' body was found in a Plantation canal.

Prosecutors allege that Villegas killed Lewis because he believed that she was responsible for the breakup of his marriage.

"He took this woman at the prime of her life, and he discards her like a piece of trash in a canal because she was an obstacle," assistant state attorney Shari Tate said during her closing arguments.

Villegas' ex-wife and son testified against him during his trial, which began last week.

Tate concluded her closing arguments shortly before noon. The defense will make its closing arguments and prosecutors will give a rebuttal before the jury begins deliberations.

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