1. Breaking News

Marco Villarreal back on WFLA-Ch. 8 as a reporter after prosecutors drop battery charge

One news segment featuring Marco Villarreal was broadcast Sunday on WFLA-Ch. 8. [WFLA YouTube]
Published May 14

TAMPA — Marco Villarreal, former morning host on WFLA-Ch. 8, is back on the air as a reporter now that prosecutors have decided not to pursue a charge of aggravated battery against him.

On March 24, Tampa police arrested Villarreal, 37, at his home in Cory Lake Isles on a charge of aggravated battery on a pregnant woman.

The charge was dropped April 17. In a letter of release, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office said it could not meet the standard of proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" in the case.

Neither Villareal nor WFLA-Ch. 8 responded to requests for comment.

A woman identified as the victim at the time of the arrest was six months pregnant with Villarreal's child, according to an arrest affidavit. They had lived together at the home in New Tampa for a year.

Villareal slammed her against a wall, according to the affidavit, when she refused his attempts to kiss her as she was cooking.

The woman was "visibly upset" but did not complain of injuries and refused medical treatment, according to police. Two children were also home at the time and gave statements.

The woman was not identified.

Villarreal was back on the air Sunday night, reporting from downtown Tampa about the "Click it or Ticket" program to encourage seat belt use.

Once active on his professional Facebook and Twitter accounts, he has not posted to either account since March 22.

Before his arrest, Villarreal was a host on the WFLA-Ch. 8 morning newscast. On the station's website, he is now listed as a reporter.

Contact Josh Fiallo at Follow @ByJoshFiallo.


  1. Stephanie Vold, a medical assistant and intake specialist for OnMed, holds the door while Austin White, president and CEO of the company, talks with a nurse practitioner during a demonstration of their new telehealth system at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday. The hospital is the first to deploy the OnMed station and plans to install them at other locations. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The closet-size “office” with a life-size screen is another example of the changing face of medicine.
  2. Taco Bell Tuesday announced it had recalled 2.3 million pounds of its seasoned beef filling.
    The fast food chain announced Tuesday it voluntarily recalled 2.3 million pounds of beef after customers reported fining metal shavings in their food.
  3. A page from the Medicare Handbook focuses on Medicare Advantage plans, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. Medicare's open enrollment period for 2020 begins Oct. 15 and lasts through Dec. 7. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS  |  AP
    New benefits are giving an extra boost to Medicare Advantage, the already popular alternative to traditional Medicare.
  4. Investigators are collecting evidence at the scene of a fatal stabbing on the 4000 block of 68th Street N. The victim was trying to break into a house, the Sheriff's Office said. KATHRYN VARN   |   TIMES  |  Kathryn Varn
    The dead man had sneaked out of a group home a block away. It’s unlikely charges will be filed, the Sheriff’s Office said.
  5. Marileydi Gonzalez-Meza, 28, of Pinellas Park, was arrested Monday on charges of driving under the influence, driving while license suspended and driving in the wrong direction. HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE  |  Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Reports came in about 1:20 a.m. Monday. A trooper pulled over Marileydi Gonzalez-Meza, 28.
  6. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The death was reported early Monday and doesn’t appear suspicious, the agency said.
  7. Kathryn Norris , 57, died in 2009 inside her Chevrolet Nova. It took authorities almost 16 months to find her. How could a woman go missing inside her own home? Florida Today
    Kathryn Norris disappeared long before she died.
  8. Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
    It’s unclear when the Mazda driver started driving the wrong way on the interstate, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    It’s unclear whether alcohol was involved, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  10. A surveillance photo of an alleged gunman in Tampa shared by the Tampa Police Department on Saturday, October 12, 2019. The shooter allegedly seriously injured an 18-year-old outside the Fat Boy grocery on the 1300 block of E Osborne Avenue, police say. Tampa Police Department
    The shooter was with a young boy, police said.