PORTLAND – In a jealous rage, Timothy Antone drove his sport utility vehicle into Roland Villacci, throwing him into the air.

He then stood over Villacci, who would die in a hospital four days later, and told him the attack was retaliation for Villacci having sex with Antone’s ex-wife, who had accused Villacci of raping her.

For that act of retribution on Oct. 28, 2009, Antone will spend 18 years in prison, then four years on probation.

On Thursday in Cumberland County Superior Court, Justice Joyce Wheeler accepted an agreement in which Antone, 49, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the state dropped a murder charge against him.

Despite the Scarborough man’s previously clean record and remorse for the crime, the impact on Villacci’s family called for a severe sentence, said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese.

Villacci, who lived in Portland, was a mechanic and a bodybuilder, the oldest of Sandra Villacci Philbrook’s six sons. His death hit his mother hard.

Friends of the family recalled how, in the four days before Villacci died, his mother knelt on the floor outside his hospital room, praying hard for his recovery.

In court Thursday, Philbrook spoke to Antone’s mother. Both of their sons made bad choices that contributed to the tragedy, Philbrook said.

“My love and compassion goes out to you,” she told Antone’s mother. After the hearing, they embraced.

Marchese said that if the case had gone to trial, she would have shown that Antone’s ex-wife, Elizabeth Antone, and Villacci were heard by his roommate laughing and joking one night about a week before the attack.

A couple of days later, she came back looking for an earring and seemed very upset, the roommate told investigators.

Elizabeth Antone had told Timothy Antone, and later told Portland police, that Villacci had raped her. Marchese said there was no evidence of an assault beyond Antone’s accusation, and Villacci denied it.

Timothy Antone responded to the accusation by leaving index cards around the Brookfield Terrace complex on Auburn Street, where Villacci lived, accusing him of being a rapist.

On the morning of the attack, Antone was lying in wait. He drove into Villacci with his Ford Explorer when Villacci walked out of his apartment.

Antone had worked for years at Villacci Motor Sales and was well known to some members of the family.

Villacci’s brother, Tom Villacci, said at Thursday’s hearing that Elizabeth Antone, who was not in the courtroom, bears some of the responsibility for his brother’s death.

“It’s an atrocity this had to happen,” he said. “I think she played on somebody’s intelligence.”

He said his brother never assaulted Elizabeth Antone.

Her lawyer, J.P. DeGrinney, said his client did nothing wrong and has not been charged. He said she feels very sorry for Villacci and for his family.

Marchese said the plea agreement made sense for both sides.

If convicted of murder, Timothy Antone would have faced a minimum of 25 years in prison. But winning the conviction would not have been easy for the prosecution.

Even though Antone told his ex-wife that he was planning to kill Villacci, it would have been a challenge to prove that he meant for Villacci to die when he hit him with the SUV, Marchese said. The vehicle was not moving exceptionally fast, and there were no skid marks showing it had accelerated quickly.

Given the chance to address the court, Antone, supported by his attorney, Joel Vincent, apologized, particularly to Villacci’s mother.

“I’m very sorry for all the heartache that happened to both of the families,” he said, shortly before being led away to begin his sentence.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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