A last-minute plea deal has ended what could have been a second trial in a Lake Clarke Shores murder case from more than a decade ago.
Nicholas Agatheas, 40, accepted an agreement Monday that will send him to prison for 22 years for the 2005 murder of Thomas Villano in Lake Clarke Shores.
The penalty is much lower than the life sentence he received in 2006 after his first trial in the case.
His attorneys and prosecutors reached the plea deal allowing him to plead guilty to a lesser second-degree murder charge before what was to have been his second trial in the case.
Villano found shot eight times inside his Lake Clarke Shores home.
At his first trial, prosecutors called to the stand Agatheas’ former girlfriend, who testified that he had admitted killing Villano shortly after they saw television coverage of his death.
The girlfriend testified Agatheas also told her he had left his T-shirt at the scene. Investigators found a discarded T-shirt in Villano’s ransacked home. Though investigators could not initially make a match, improved DNA technology years later linked Agatheas to the shirt.
In the new trial, Agatheas defense attorneys were expected to argue that because Agatheas worked for Villano’s small restaurant equipment company, the shirt could have been at Villano’s home after Agatheas did other work there.