Man who fatally shot estranged wife and male friend in Sabre Springs apartment given life sentence

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A nurse who fatally shot his estranged wife — also a
registered nurse — and her male friend after watching them cuddle in her Sabre
Springs apartment was sentenced Tuesday to 80 years to life in state prison.

Melchor Marabante, 43, pleaded guilty in August to a pair of second-degree murder charges and admitted the use of a gun in the Feb. 20, 2011,
slayings of his 23-year-old wife and her colleague and friend, 26-year-old
Bernabe Villamar.

“My heart is broken forever,” said Valerie Marabante's mother, Leann
Sidlin. “I will never recover from losing her. I hate you Mel Marabante. It
sickens me to call you family.”

Sidlin said the defendant deserved the death penalty.

Valerie Marabante served her husband, who formerly worked for the state
Department of Corrections, with divorce papers and kicked him out of their
apartment about three weeks before she died, according to court testimony.

She was an R.N., working at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
in Otay Mesa, where Villamar was a licensed vocational nurse.

Retired San Diego police Officer Kenneth Hodges testified at a hearing
last year that Villamar's body was found in the living room and Valerie
Marabante's body was found in the garage. A patio door had been broken down
from the outside and a broken tree stake was found nearby, Hodges testified.

Philip Marabante testified that his brother told him that he saw his
wife and her friend kissing and hugging and then shot them with a gun that his
sibling had taken away from him and put in his trunk when the defendant moved
in with him.

Philip Marabante said his brother had told him he thought his wife was
having an affair with a co-worker.

After the murders, the defendant told his brother, “I killed them. I
killed them both. First I shot the fat ugly Filipino guy, and then I killed
Val.”

Sidlin told Judge Peter Deddeh that Villamar was simply a co-worker and
friend.

“Val was never unfaithful in her marriage,” her mother said today in
court.

Bernabe's older brother called the defendant a “killer, murderer and
animal.”

“You should have taken your own life away,” Marlone Villamar told
Marabante.

Susan Barboza Anderson, who worked with Valerie Marabante, said she was
a “breath of fresh air.”

“Valerie taught us to live life to the fullest,” Anderson said.

Eight days before she died, the victim said her estranged husband had
been stalking her but she wasn't afraid because he would never hurt her,
Anderson said.

Marabante, in a prepared statement, said he was sorry to the victims'
families for “the pain and suffering I've caused.”

“I did love Valerie with all my heart,” the defendant said. “Please
find it in your heart to forgive me.”

The Marabantes had been together about five years and married in April
2009. The defendant has three sons who will grow up without their father in
their lives, the judge said.

“Was it worth it?” Deddeh asked the defendant. “What were you
thinking?”

Categories: KUSI