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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 jfiallo@tampabay.com. Follow @ByJoshFiallo.

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