A Las Vegas woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder after police say she fatally shot her boyfriend after the couple got into a fight inside a car over the weekend.
Cheryl Rheamount, 35, has been jailed on a count of open murder in connection to the killing of 32-year-old Matthew Bernardi Saturday evening near Judson Avenue and Dolly Lane.
According to police, a neighbor said a woman, later identified as Rheamount, showed up on her doorstep on East Lake Mead Boulevard at around 8pm Saturday drenched in blood, saying her boyfriend had been shot and asking her to call 911.
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Deadly incident: Cheryl Rheamount (left), 35, has been arrested on a felony murder charge in the killing of 32-year-old Matthew Bernardi (right) in Las Vegas
Bernardi was found mortally wounded behind the wheel of a vehicle near Judson Avenue and Dolly Lane in Las Vegas Saturday evening
‘Shooter’ speaks: Rheamount told police she shot her boyfriend after he threatened to kill her
Officers who responded to the scene were met by Rheamount, who led them to her mortally wounded boyfriend in a car parked nearby.
First responders pulled Bernardi from the vehicle and rushed him to University Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Police said the woman who called police told them that Rheamount mentioned getting into a fight with her boyfriend in the car.
It later emerged that Rheamount had stashed a gun beneath a seat in the vehicle prior to the shooting.
When questioned by police, the 35-year-old murder suspect told detectives that Bernardi was abusive and had threatened to kill her, which is why she had the firearm in the car, according to an arrest report obtained by the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The document states that when Bernardi, who was in the driver’s seat, pulled over and turned around to face her, Rheamount grabbed the .380-caliber handgun and fired.
Relationship gone wrong: Rheamount and Bernardi began dating in May of this year and the man eventually moved in with her, but their relationship allegedly took a violent turn
On the day of the killing, the 35-year-old said she stashed her handgun under her seat because she had a ‘premonition’ something bad would happen
The 35-year-old Las Vegas resident, whose LinkedIn profile indicates she has been unemployed since January, told investigators that she and Matthew Bernardi started dating in May and the 32-year-old eventually moved in with her.
But the relationship between the couple soured when Bernardi became physically and verbally abusive, according to Rheamount’s narrative. The girlfriend noted that she never called police to report the domestic abuse.
On November 19, Rheamount and Bernardi got into a fight while gambling at a local casino, The Cannery, according to KTNV.
When they returned home that evening, the fight escalated and Bernardi went inside their apartment to pack up his belongings.
While he was gone, Rheamount said she got a ‘premonition’ that something bad was going to happen and hid her gun, which was in her purse, under the front passenger seat in the car.
When Bernardi returned, the couple’s quarrel continued and he allegedly threatened to kill Rheamount. The woman claimed her boyfriend grabbed her by the back of the head and slammed her face first either into his lap or against the dashboard, causing her nose to bleed.
In Rheamount’s booking photo taken after her arrest, streaks of what appears to be dried blood are visible on her bruised chin and under her nose.
Bernardi ordered Rheamount to get in the backseat and began driving. When the man pulled over and turned to face the woman, she allegedly took out her handgun and pulled the trigger, shooting through the back of the driver’s seat.
When investigators asked the suspect why she didn’t just get out of the car and run away when Bernardi pulled over, she replied that she knew he would chase her.
Police say they recovered a gun believed to have been used in the shooting.
When asked by police why she didn’t just get out of the car and run away when Bernardi pulled over, she replied that she knew he would chase her
Afterwards, Rheamount ran back to her apartment building and banged on the door of her friend, Terry Walker, urging her to call for help quickly, hoping that paramedics could save Bernardi.,
‘She didn’t want him to die,’ Walker told the station News3LV.
Walker said she sometimes heard screaming coming from Rheamount and Bernardi’s apartment.
Their next-door neighbor, Cecilia Diuguid, corroborated Walker’s story, saying she often heard Bernardi yelling at the woman and the couple fighting. She also claimed the 32-year-old man had gambled away all of his girlfriend’s money.
‘I thought the guy would be charged with murder – not her,’ Diuguid said.
Matthew Bernardi’s uncle, John Bernardi, said the 32-year-old was an Eagle Scout and was in the process of moving to Arizona to be with his mother and other relatives.
Bernardi was married but estranged from his wife, who found out about his killing from a friend, according to the victim’s uncle.
Meanwhile, a relative has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover Bernardi’s funeral expenses. As of Wednesday morning, just under $530 has been raised.
Cheryl Rheamount is being held at the Clark County jail pending an initial court appearance on a felony murder charge. She’s expected to have an attorney appointed to her case.