Suspect says argument over flour led to strangulation, burning woman in west valley

Raymond Quinsell Lewis, 22, told police that he killed his girlfriend and set her body on fire. 3/17/17 (LVMPD)

The suspect in the strangulation and burning death of a woman in the west valley more than a week ago started with an argument over who would go get flour from a neighbor.

The arrest report says Raymond (R.J.) Lewis admitted to police detectives that after victim Geranique Bentley, 20, called him lazy for not going to get the flour he "became angry, climbed on top of Bentley and strangled her."

Hours later he burned her body with lighter fluid in a corner of the apartment complex at 737 Rock Springs.

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Both were transients who lived in abandoned apartments in the area of Rainbow Boulevard and Washington Avenue. He said they had a sporadic dating relationship since December 2015.

In his first interview with detectives, Lewis told police that they fell asleep in an apartment about 11 p.m. on March 10 and when he woke up in the next day she was nowhere to be found.

Once police released the sketch of the victim, Lewis told detectives he recognized the sketch to be that of Bentley and wanted to assist police with their investigation. He provided them with several photographs of Bentley.

On March 16, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Det. Grimmett received and reviewed several hours of video surveillance from the apartment complex.

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In a second interview, Lewis admitted he did not tell the truth in his first interview. He said that he strangled Bentley after she called him lazy as they argued over who was going to get flour.

When he released her after a struggle that he said lasted a minute, he realized she was not breathing. He said he tried to perform CPR, but was not able to get Bentley to regain consciousness. He admitted he did not seek professional medical assistance for her.

Lewis said he removed and disposed of her clothing, wrapped her body in a blanket and took the body under the cover of darkness to the southeast corner of the complex during the early morning hours of March 11.

He said he planned to bury the body but was pressed for time so used lighter fluid to set fire to the body.

He said he was concerned about fingerprints and physical evidence so he wanted to turn the body to ashes. He sat fire to the body and left the area, but returned to check on the body. He noticed the fire had quickly diminished so he rekindled the fire and spent about 15 minutes squirting lighter fluid on the body, fueling the fire.

Jamika Washington, an acquaintance of RJ and the victim says she and her mother suspected he was responsible all along. They even spoke to RJ after police released the sketch of the victim.

"The story that he gave wasn't adding up. I wasn't believing him at all," said Washington.

The body was found by neighbors about 11 a.m. March 11.

Lewis was arrested after the interview and transported to the Clark County Detention Center where he was booked for open murder.

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