VENTURA : Woman Arrested in Death of Roommate

A 24-year-old Ventura woman has been arrested on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter in the death of her 27-year-old roommate, who allegedly was pushed down a flight of stairs.

Valerie Jean Rhodehamel, 24, was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail at the Main Jail in Ventura.

Ventura Police Sgt. Roger Nustad said Rhodehamel and the victim, Mary Elizabeth Feeney, had been feuding all day Sunday over Feeney's former boyfriend, who was visiting their apartment at 239 Ramona St.

About 9:45 p.m., Rhodehamel tried to prevent Feeney from going downstairs to join the man and four other friends, Nustad said. He said a witness told police that Rhodehamel apparently changed her mind and pushed Feeney.

Feeney fell about nine feet down the stairs, striking her head and cracking her skull, Nustad said. She was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, where she died at 8:15 p.m. Monday said a spokeswoman for the Ventura County coroner's office.

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